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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thousands of letters urging the U.S. government to maintain existing border restrictions on Mexican trucks are on their way to the administration of George W. Bush.

The letters are from truckers concerned about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a trade-panel ruling last winter that said the U.S. government must open up its highways to Mexican rigs.

Th truck drivers are petitioning the government to wait until a better system is in place for enforcing U.S. truck safety laws.

Currently, trucks from Mexico are limited to running in border regions only, despite a NAFTA clause that says the foreign trucks were supposed to have free reign beginning in early 2000.

About 5,000 of those letters were generated by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and its members at the recent Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Ky.

OOIDA claims that U.S. state officials need better education, funding and “in general… far more support from the U.S. government on NAFTA enforcement issues.”

The group warns that its members claim Mexican trucks “can easily skirt compliance with U.S. law.”

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