EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – In response to long wait times at the commercial truck lanes at the Ysleta Port of Entry, truck drivers have blocked access to the lanes on the Mexican side of the border.
Their actions come hours after a similar protest at the Pharr International Bridge, first closed the Northbound commercial lanes, then the Southbound lanes as well.
Drivers have parked their trucks in the inspection area in the northbound lanes – in Juarez – with their trailers blocking the southbound lanes as well, effectively blocking all commercial traffic.
Pedestrian and personal vehicle traffic is not impacted by this protest, and continues to flow both north and southbound.
The protest began around 3 p.m. with some drivers complaining they had spent several hours in line. Similar delays were reported on Friday, which coincided with the start of enhanced commercial inspections by the Texas Department of Public Safety. DPS has inspection facilities immediately north of U.S. customs and Border Protection port facilities.
“There’s a lot of traffic because they are blocking the street, you have the labor union, and truck drivers impeding traffic,” said Sergio Lopez, a truck driver who was able to cross from Juarez to El Paso after hours of waiting.
Lopez describes what the enhanced inspection was like.
“They don’t tell us anything because they ask us to get out,” said Lopez “It’s very slow here we don’t even know what’s going on they don’t let us know.”
Truckers were telling reporters at the scene they were greatly inconvenienced by the delays and worried that their deliveries of manufactured goods and other merchandise would get to their destinations late.
Some truckers complained of not being able to cross from El Paso to Juarez.
“It affects us because we cant go to our house to sleep and for example going to the restroom or eating, so much time passes here,” said Cesar Morena a truck driver.
Morena shared what the inspection was like when he crossed from Juarez to El Paso earlier in the day.
“It’s the same it’s just that they put in all the trucks and it takes more time,” said Morena.
CBP’s website reported wait times of 420 minutes (seven hours) at the facility as of 4:30 p.m. Monday.
However, the passenger lanes are not experiencing long wait times, the time to cross is average for a Monday.
KTSM has a crew on the way to the scene on both sides of the border, and we will have updates here on KTSM.com and on our newscasts at 5, 6, and 10.
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