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Amber Alert

Saturday, April 21, 2007

April 23-25 protest targets Mexican trucks

The organizer of an event called Truck Out is urging truckers to rally nationwide April 23-25 to protest the Bush administration’s pilot program to allow Mexican carriers to deliver in the United States.

Mexican truckers are not subject to the same laws and conditions as American truckers and will undercut American truckers for jobs, said activist Frosty Wooldridge of Lewisville, Colo., the protest organizer. “If this pilot program goes through, you’ll see the disappearance of American trucking jobs,” he said.

Wooldridge is asking truckers to drive their rigs to state capitols or the U.S. Capitol with protest signs displayed. Truckers should drive as slowly as legally possible in the two-block radius around capitols, while allowing funeral processions and emergency vehicles through, Wooldridge said.

Many streets in the District of Columbia, including those on Capitol Hill, are off limits to unauthorized 18-wheelers, and many state capitals have similar restrictions.

Wooldridge is a former public-school teacher who supplemented his income for 21 summers as a truck driver. He spent four years as head driver trainer for a moving and storage company and still holds a CDL.

Truck Out coincides with the weeklong Hold Their Feet to the Fire event sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that advocates cutting the number of immigrants allowed into the United States. Wooldridge’s website, www.saveamericafund.org, says, “FAIR is in full support of our Trucker's Rally protest and are very excited that we have united as a nation to bring the collective message of the American citizen to Washington and every capitol in our nation.”

FAIR, however, posted on its website, www.fairus.org: “While FAIR certainly understands the concerns expressed by the truckers who are planning to participate, the ‘Truck Out’ demonstration that may include the slowing or snarling of traffic around the country, is not part of the Hold Their Feet to the Fire event and FAIR has played no part in its planning or execution.”

Mexican trucks had free run of the United States until 1982, when Congress closed the border to both Canadian and Mexican trucks until U.S. trucks obtained equally free run of those nations. Canada quickly complied, but Mexico did not, and the issue of Mexican trucks in the United States has dragged on ever since. The North American Free Trade Agreement, a treaty signed by Canada, Mexico and the United States in 1994, pledged to open borders to all businesses, including trucking companies.