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Injudicious Action by Texas Governor Impedes Vehicle Movement at Southern Border

04/15/2022

Governor Greg Abbott issued a directive on Wednesday, April 6th for the Texas State Highway Patrol to inspect all vehicles entering the state from Mexico, apparently to interdict movement of illegal aliens and contraband.

 

The edict, although intended to engender political support for his reelection obviously backfired.  Despite rapid processing of vehicles by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, day-long delays werecaused by the inefficient and unnecessary inspection by the State of Texas.

 

At the El Paso international crossing between 2,500 and 3,000 trucks pass between Ciudad, Juarez, and El Paso daily.  Trade between Mexico and Texas is estimated at $450 billion in 2021.  Mexico is a key supplier of components for automobiles, machinery, electric equipment, and produce.  Delays at the border have repercussions throughout the U.S. depriving customers of products from Mexico required in Michigan and Tennessee

 

A spokesperson for the Texas International Produce Association stated that trucks crossing at the Pharr International Bridge resulted in delays idling warehouses on the U.S. side of the border..

 

Despite the announced intent to interdict smuggling of humans and contraband, the highway patrol is carrying out 45 minute mechanical inspections of vehicles refuting the intention of the gubernatorial order.

 

If the example of political theater continues for an extended period cross border traffic will be diverted to neighboring states, depriving Texas of jobs and revenue and indirectly eroding political goodwill for the governor for his third term.

 

U.S. representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX) condemned the action of the Governor as “impractical and detrimental to the state economy”.

 

Ermilo Richer, operator of a trucking company in Laredo, noted “We definitely need to make sure Washington figures out how to keep Title 42 open, but control immigration.  However, we need Governor Abbott to make the right calls and not affect a community that’s got nothing to do with immigration.”  Representative Gonzalez was joined by logistics companies in calling for the Governor to rescind his action and restore normal operations along the southern border. Delays resulted in protests by truckers that accentuated delays and exacerbated the effect of the injudicious action by Gov. Abbott.

 

Following meetings with the Governors of the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon and signing of memorandums of agreement, border crossings are returning to normal although the Laredo point of entry is still congested in the absence of an agreement with the State of Tamaulipas. The long Easter weekend only complicated trans-border traffic.

 

Gov. Abbott announced an end to the double inspection on April 18th but noted that the program could be restored at any time depending on illegal entry of aliens

 

 ‘Political Theater’ to generate support for an incumbent can have far-reaching repercussions and predictable additional costs imposed on consumers. This is especially eggregious during a time of high inflation partly caused by supply-chain disruption.