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Mexican Truckers Threaten To Block Arizona Border Entries
The Arizona Department of Transportation says thousands of Mexican truck drivers are planning to block traffic at border entries into the United States. The truck drivers are protesting strict inspections and long wait times at ports of entry.
The Mexican truckers are most concerned about how they are treated by federal inspectors at Arizona border crossings. They said after waiting up to an hour in line to drive into the U.S. they have to go through a series of inspections and often receive fines for safety violations. Now they are planning a blockade, and ADOT spokesman Tim Tait said the agency wants to avoid a traffic jam.
“The truckers in Mexico have some serious concerns, and there’s some evidence to support their concerns. As far as their seriousness to actually instituting a blockade, we don’t know,” Tait said.
He said ADOT’s director is urging the federal Motor Carrier Administration to meet with the truckers and listen to their concerns.
Meanwhile, Arizona produce companies are worried the blockade could hurt their bottom lines. Chris Seruli is with Seruli Brothers produce distributors in Nogales, Ariz. He says the truckers have announced the protest at an opportune time: The peak of the harvest season for fruits and vegetables.
"Our mango trucks are coming from Chiapas, which is on the border of Guatemala border. It’s a six or seven day ride for those guys to get up here. So, if I start backing up, holding trucks here in Nogales that I am not returning to Chiapas, it has an adverse effect. I can’t pick because my coolers are full in Mexico," Ceruli said.
He acknowledged the Mexican truckers have threatened blockades in the past and haven’t ever actually stopped border traffic. But Ceruli said this year they seem more organized and prepared to take action.