Texas governor backs off on some border inspections

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, April 15, 2022:

Texas governor eases some pressure at border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott late Wednesday afternoon agreed to decrease inspections by the Texas Department of Public Safety at one border crossing in Laredo after meeting with leaders of Nuevo León in Mexico.

Abbott and Nuevo León Governor Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday in which Sepúlveda agreed to increase enhanced inspections on the Mexican side of the border, and Abbott agreed to back off on state inspections at the Laredo-Colombia Solidarity International Bridge “to restore the border-crossing inspections process to allow crossings at a faster pace,” the agreement reads.

The agreement comes after Abbott last week ordered Texas DPS to conduct inspections at U.S.-Mexico border crossings, in addition to those already conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to curtail the flow of drugs and human trafficking into Texas, according to the governor's order. It resulted in major slowdowns at border crossings for truck drivers, and Mexican truckers even blocked the Pharr International Bridge in protest of the order.

“Until President Biden enforces the immigration laws passed by Congress, Texas will step up and use its own strategies to secure the border and negotiate with Mexico to seek solutions that will keep Texans safe,” Abbott said. “This historic memorandum of understanding between Texas and Nuevo León is a major step in the Lone Star State's efforts to secure the border in the federal government's absence.”

Abbott's charge of the federal absence is a reference to the Biden Administration’s decision to end Title 42 expulsions — which allowed CBP agents to prohibit immigrants at the Mexican border from entering the U.S., even those seeking asylum, if they potentially pose a COVID-19 health risk.

A press release from Abbott Wednesday afternoon said that his office has been in contact with governors of other Mexican states about signing similar agreements.

Forward Air opens new expanded support center

Forward Air Corporation (CCJ Top 250, No. 50) announced the grand opening of its expanded Columbus (CMH) Support Center. The new Support Center represents a strategic investment in the company’s commitment to deliver a better experience for its employees, customers and independent contractor drivers, the company said.

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By consolidating support teams from multiple facilities around Columbus into one centralized location, Forward Air is positioned to deliver more coordinated and effective services to its customers. The new Support Center also offers improved amenities for the company’s independent contractor drivers, such as expanded parking and storage.

“We are committed to a facility expansion plan that supports the evolving needs of our customers and independent contractor drivers,” said Tom Schmitt, Chairman, President and CEO. “One of our leadership imperatives is ‘we operate as one,’ and opening this facility delivers on that strategy – we’ve consolidated the operations of five buildings. It also put us into a position to expand door count by 30 percent.”

The Support Center serves as the home base for the company’s safety and recruiting teams, and this expansion creates an improved onboarding experience for independent contractor drivers.