Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., introduced legislation barring Mexican trucks from operating freely in the U.S. until certain conditions are met to ensure safety and security.

The North American Free Trade Agreement Trucking Safety Act is a response to a pilot plan to allow 100 Mexican companies to run their rigs anywhere in the U.S.

“There are considerable safety and security risks involved with providing Mexican truckers complete and unrestricted access to American roadways,” Hunter said in a statement. “It is important that these issues are thoroughly addressed before Mexican motor carriers are permitted to freely operate beyond established commercial zones along the Southern land border.

As WND reported, the Department of Transportation pilot test designed to has encountered opposition, both in Congress and in Mexico.

Hunter, a candidate for president, said the nation’s roadways and motorists must be protected from potentially dangerous and unsafe vehicle traffic.

“The NAFTA Trucking Safety Act rightfully applies to Mexican truckers the same rules and regulations applied to American truckers, preventing unqualified and inexperienced motor carriers from traveling the highways and roads within our communities,” he said. “If Mexican truckers cannot meet these requirements, then they should not be granted access into the United States.”

Submitting Mexican truckers to the same background checks and inspection requirements as their American counterparts has an important security element, he said.

“Unrestricted cross-border trucking presents potential terrorists, drug smugglers and other criminals the opportunity to quietly enter the United States with unidentified cargo and contraband,” Hunter pointed out. “This is unacceptable in today’s security environment and further underscores the safety and security risks involved with providing cross-border truckers direct access to our roadways.”

Specifically, the NAFTA Trucking Safety Act requires that no Mexican motor carrier be granted authority to operate in the U.S. beyond commercial zones until:

  • The Secretary of Transportation: publishes in the Federal Register a list of all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and how Mexican carriers, trucks and drivers will be required to comply; a list of the enforcement tools and conditions required by law that will be made available to federal and state motor carrier safety enforcement personnel; and implements a plan in partnership with the Secretary of Homeland Security to monitor and enforce immigration and customs regulations;
  • Law enforcement personnel have the ability to access driver, criminal and security databases to verify a cross-border drivers’ identification, driving record, criminal history and risk to homeland security;
  • The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General has independently verified compliance with each condition in Section 350 of P.L. 107-87 and submitted a report to Congress detailing compliance.
  • The Secretary of Transportation has submitted to Congress a plan to enforce English language proficiency as already required.

The NAFTA Trucking Safety Act has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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