Additional DPS checkpoints in Texas raises concerns among truck drivers

1 month 1 week 6 days ago Friday, July 01 2022 Jul 1, 2022 July 01, 2022 10:02 AM July 01, 2022 in News

Valley truck drivers are weighing in on Gov. Abbott's new order to add new vehicle inspection checkpoints in Texas. 

The decision comes after over 50 migrants died in connection with an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio. 

After hearing about the governor's plans, the owner of a Brownsville trucking company was not pleased with Abbott's decision.

RELATED: Texas will increase checkpoints for trucks crossing from Mexico after migrant smuggling deaths  

“We as trucking companies provide a business," said Zeke Silva, owner of S&M Transport. "An essential business for everyone to survive. To be targeted is not right. It’s not right by the governor. It’s not right by anybody.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety will be in charge of creating and implementing a checkpoint strategy in an effort to curb human smuggling. 

“I get it," Silva said. "It’s a tragedy and he has a right to enforce violations, but to target a certain industry over other industries. It’s not right.”

DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez, a spokesperson for the South Texas DPS region, says the department is not targeting truck drivers. 

“The only thing now is that we're going to take a more primary focus on focusing on the criminal activity that’s blending in with these truck drivers," Olivarez said. "So we’re not targeting truck drivers.”

READ ALSO: Texas police: 4 migrants killed in smuggling attempt  

Olivarez says the department has always had state troopers who specialized in stopping and inspecting commercial vehicles. He says they will be able to detect the cloned trucks by stopping and inspecting the trucks and the vast majority that are coming through the state's highways and have made it past the Border Patrol checkpoint.

“We know for certain that Border Patrol does not have the manpower or the technology that some of these checkpoints to stop or inspect every single truck that’s coming through," Olivarez said. 

Olivarez said it's an effort to decrease human smuggling, which is a daily occurrence throughout the southern border. Within a 24-hour period, six immigrants died during human smuggling attempts in South Texas, including a rollover in Encinal and a chase near La Joya. 

READ ALSO: Men killed in Hidalgo County rollover crash identified as Mexican nationals  

Sergio Lopez, who has been in business for over 30 years, transports goods in the U.S. and across to Mexico. He also feels like they are being profiled which will end up slowing down commerce.

"What Governor Abbott is doing regarding safety should be first and I agree with him 100%," Lopez said. "All of Texas should feel secure. However, there are different ways to streamline these inspections.”

Olivarez says there are different levels of inspection and it will range from 30 minutes to an hour depending on what they’re inspecting. If a trooper is only inspecting the trailer or cargo and paperwork, it will take around 30 minutes to 45 minutes. A more detailed inspection, including mechanical parts of the truck as well as the interior and exterior of the truck, may take up to one hour.

Regardless, Silva believes the emphasis should be on Border Patrol.

DPS won't say where the additional or how many inspection locations there will be because they don’t want potential human smugglers to be aware of where they are. Instead, more troopers are being placed along highways, stopping trucks and signaling them over to park on the side or at a parking lot.

He describes that they will be strategically placed and will be based on areas prone to human smuggling activity.

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