WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Fruit and vegetables bound for grocery shelves and restaurants are rotting on semi-trucks at the Texas-Mexico border.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state officials to inspect every commercial truck that crosses the border, after it passes through U.S. Customers and Border Protection. The governor said he’s striking back against the Biden administration’s decision to stop enforcing COVID-19 emergency health restrictions at the border next month.
Trucks are lined up for miles with some drivers waiting up to 72 hours just to cross the border.
“This is a real gut punch to the American consumer right now,” said President of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas Lance Jungmeyer.
Jungmeyer said on a normal day, 2,000 trucks each deliver up to 40,000 pounds of fresh produce to the U.S.
“Right now that is zero or practically zero,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the added inspections are paralyzing cross-border businesses.
“These actions are impacting jobs and livelihood of hardworking families,” Psaki said.
But Abbott said the inspections will continue until the federal government agrees to extend the COVID-19 emergency restrictions at the border.
“The ultimate way to end the clogged border is for President Biden, to do his job and to secure the border,” Abbott said.
Abbott ordered an end to the state inspections at one of Texas’ 13 commercial crossings Wednesday. The governor of neighboring Nuevo Leon, Mexico, said he reached an agreement with Abbott to keep the trucks moving.
The produce association sent a letter to Abbott, asking him to let the trucks roll.
“Because we can’t see the cost of our tomatoes, the cost of our avocados, the cost of our asparagus, the cost of our strawberries continue to go up,” said Jungmeyer.