Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has halted commercial truck safety inspections in Laredo after signing an agreement with his counterpart from the Mexican state of Nuevo León on April 13.
Abbott and Gov. Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda signed a memorandum of understanding in which Nuevo León state agreed to patrol the 8.7 miles of the international border it shares with Texas as well as to conduct its own safety inspections on trucks entering Texas.
The move will unclog the hours-long delays that commercial trucks have faced in Laredo after Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to conduct enhanced safety inspections on commercial vehicles entering from Mexico.
“These inspections revealed that about 25 percent of the vehicles crossing into Texas were unsafe for Texas roads and were removed from service,” Abbott said during a joint press conference with García in Laredo.
“At the same time, Texas has been overrun with a record number of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico into Texas, with the assistance of cartels.”
Border Patrol agents in Texas deal with the vast majority of illegal border crossers, apprehending more than 1.3 million in 2021, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
In the first three months of 2022, agents apprehended more than 318,000 illegal immigrants entering the state of Texas from Mexico.
García said his state started its own truck inspections yesterday.
“We show Governor Abbott we have federal police, migration police, local and state police making those checkpoints to ensure that they will arrive safe and not representing any threat to Texas,” García said.
“I want to ensure that Texas feels comfortable making business and having an effective and quicker border.”
Abbott said he’s been contacted by the governors from the other Mexican states that have bridges crossing into Texas and expects other meetings to begin on April 14. The other states include Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua.
“Until, however, those agreements are reached with those states, the Texas Department of Public Safety will continue to thoroughly inspect vehicles entering into the United States from every Mexican state except Nueva León,” Abbott said.
Texas and Mexico share 1,254 miles of border and 28 ports of entry.
Texas DPS officers have conducted inspections at seven ports of entry—Brownsville, Los Indios, Pharr, Laredo, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, and El Paso.
One Laredo port of entry has seen a 60 percent drop in commerce since the inspections stated, while the Pharr port of entry was blocked by protesters on the Mexican side, according to CBP, which is responsible for border clearance into the United States. CBP issued its own statement on April 12 calling the inspections “unnecessary.”
García encouraged other Mexican governors to sign agreements with Texas, saying, “Don’t wait for other governments to enter to solve them.”
Abbott, who has received pressure from the White House to end the inspections, criticized the administration for its “open border policies.”
“The ultimate way to end the clog at the border is for President Biden to do his job and to secure the border,” Abbott said.
“There are very real and very deadly consequences for Biden’s refusal to secure the border. Texas law enforcement is apprehending illegal immigrants that got away from the Border Patrol, including previously convicted murderers, previously convicted child rapists, kidnappers, drug traffickers, MS-13 gang members, and cartel gang members.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Abbott’s inspection efforts a “political stunt” in a press conference on April 13.
“These actions are impacting people’s jobs and the livelihoods of hardworking families in Texas and across the country,” Psaki said.
“I’d also note that what we’re seeing with these unnecessary inspections of trucks … [at] ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are significant delays, which are resulting in a drop in commercial traffic of up to 60 to 70 percent in some ports, and that is significantly impacting the local and regional supply chains.”
Abbott announced the enhanced inspections several days after the Biden administration stated that it intends to end the Title 42 pandemic-related expulsions at the border on May 23. The Republican governor also started busing illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C., with the first bus arriving at the capital on April 13.
“The Biden Administration’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous cartels and deadly drugs to pour into the United States, and this crisis will only be made worse by ending Title 42 expulsions,” Abbott said in an April 6 statement.
Abbott acknowledged that the border slowdowns are “a very high price to pay,” but “sometimes it just takes action like that to spur people sitting down and working things out.”
The governor is up for reelection this year, seeking a third term. He won his primary in March and will face challenger Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, in November.