Texas keeping most truck inspections despite border gridlock
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. On Wednesday, Greg Abbott resisted increasing pressure to renegotiate his new border policy. This has resulted in trucks being unable to enter the United States and has also shut down some of the busiest trade routes in the world. The Mexican government, businesses and some allies have urged him to relent.
The two-term Republican governor has ordered that commercial trucks coming from Mexico be subject to extra inspections as part a fight against President Joe Biden’s immigration administration. However, he refused to reverse course, as traffic continues to snarl. The standoff has sparked warnings from trade groups and experts that U.S. shoppers could soon notice a shortage of shelves and higher prices if the normal flow is not resumed.
Abbott announced Wednesday he would suspend inspections at one bridge in Laredo, after reaching an agreement in Mexico with the governor for Nuevo Leon. But some of the most dramatic truck backups and bridge closures have occurred elsewhere along Texas’ 1,200-mile border.
“I can understand the frustrations that businesses have in trying to move their product across the border,” Abbott stated during a visit at Laredo. “But I also know well the frustration of my fellow Texans and my fellow Americans caused by the Biden administration not securing our border.”
Abbott said inbound commercial trucks elsewhere will continue to undergo thorough inspections by state troopers until leaders of Mexico’s three other neighboring states reach agreements with Texas over security. He didn’t specify what these measures would entail.
Truckers protesting Abbott’s order to close down the bridge at the Pharr–Reynosa International Bridge on Monday had effectively closed it down. Officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said that protests were over and that commercial traffic was back on track Wednesday afternoon.
Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel Garcia met Abbott in Laredo, where back-ups on the Colombia Solidarity Bridge are stretched for at least three hours. Garcia stated that Nuevo Leon would start checking for Abbott to ensure they “would have no trouble.” “
Abbott stated that he was hopeful that other Mexican states would follow his lead and said that they had been in touch with his office. The governors of Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Tamaulipas wrote to Abbott on Tuesday expressing concern at the excessiveness of the inspections.
“This policy will ultimately increase consumer costs in an already record 40-year inflated market — holding the border hostage is not the answer,” the letter read. The slowdowns are a result of an initiative Abbott claims is necessary to curb human trafficking, and the flow of drug. Abbott ordered the inspections as part of “unprecedented actions” he promised in response to the Biden administration winding down a public health law that has limited asylum-seekers in the name of preventing the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the inspections, Abbott said that Texas would offer migrants rides to Washington, D.C. as a protest against the Biden administration. Hours before the news conference in Laredo, Abbott announced the first bus carrying 24 migrants had arrived in Washington.
During the last week of March, Border Patrol officials said the border averaged more than 7,100 crossings daily.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki described Abbott’s order as “unnecessary and redundant.” While Texas troopers inspect trucks upon entry to the country, local officials and business owners claim that troopers have not stopped every truck.
Cross-border traffic has plummeted to a third of normal levels since the inspections began, according to Mexico’s government. Mexico is a major supplier to the U.S. of fresh vegetables. Importers claim that delays and rerouting trucks to other bridges have caused some produce shipments to be delayed. The escalating pressure placed on Abbott, who is up to reelection in November by his supporters and members from his party, has been from his own party.
The Texas Trucking Association, which has endorsed Abbott, said that the current situation “cannot be sustained.”
John Esparza, the association’s president, said he agrees with attempts to find a remedy with Mexico’s governors. He said that if talks continue for too long, congestion could cause damage to bridges in areas where Texas inspections are not being conducted.
” The longer it goes, the greater the impact is across the country,” Esparza stated. ” It is like when a disaster strikes.”
The slowdowns have set off some of widest backlash to date of Abbott’s multibillion-dollar border operation, which the two-term governor has made the cornerstone of his administration. Texas has thousands upon thousands of National Guard and state troopers at the border. Prisons have been converted into jails for migrants who are being held on state trespassing and state trooper charges.
Critics ask how the inspections meet Abbott’s goal of stopping the flow in migrants and drugs. Abbott asked the Texas Department of Public Safety what troopers were found in truck inspections.
As of Monday, the agency said it had inspected more than 3,400 commercial vehicles and placed more than 800 “out of service” for violations that included defective brakes, tires and lighting. It did not mention whether any migrants or drugs were found during the inspections.
Associated Press reporters Acacia Coronado. This report was contributed by Susan Montoya Bryan, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Mark Stevenson, Mexico City.
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