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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ends some border freight inspections after protests

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that the Lone Star State would end controversial inspections of trucks that have messed up border traffic, led to three international bridge closures and cost Texas companies millions of dollars every day — but only on an international border crossing.

“The effect of this will be at the bridge from Nuevo Leon to Texas, [traffic] will return to normal effective immediately,” Abbott said at a news conference.

The governor said he had an agreement with his counterpart in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, that law enforcement agencies in the Mexican state would pre-inspect cargo trucks en route to the United States before they reached the border. Mexican inspections began Tuesday in Nuevo Leon.

In return, Abbott would halt inspections that would have created a massive cargo backlog at Texas ports of entry and cost state-owned companies an estimated $100 million a day.

The first Mexican checkpoint south of the Laredo-Colomba Bridge was set up on Tuesday, according to Mexico’s El Norte newspaper. The Mexican inspections take 30 minutes compared to the 45 to 60 minutes that the Texas Department of Public Safety inspections take, the outlet reported.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot announced the controversial border truck inspections will stop at an international border crossing.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the controversial border truck inspections will stop at an international border crossing.
Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Abbott ordered the inspections on April 6 in response to federal government plans to end the Title 42 public health agency. In the days that followed, commercial traffic crossing the Pharr International Bridge at Pharr, the Anzalduas Bridge at McAllen, and the Progreso Bridge at Progreso in both directions was halted by angry Mexican truckers protesting the surveys.

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos told the Post on Wednesday that he blamed fellow Republican Abbott for the mess.

“He did these inspections and while we are all committed to public safety, we just don’t see the connection between the DPS inspection and border security,” Villalobos said. “No matter what happens, trade and commerce cannot be stopped.”

Abbot ordered the truck inspections in response to the federal government's repeal of the Title 42 health agency on illegal immigration.
Abbott ordered the truck inspections in response to the federal government’s repeal of the Title 42 health agency on illegal immigration.
Omar Ornelas/The El Paso Times via AP

The Texas border with Nuevo Leon is only nine miles long and includes only the Laredo-Colombia International Bridge. Today’s agreement does not apply to the remainder of the Texas-Mexico border, which is 1,241 miles long and borders the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas. Abbott said he was willing to make similar deals with governors from other Mexican states if they were willing to improve border security as well.

“The ultimate way to end the congested border is for President Biden to do his job and secure the border,” Abbott said. “If you want relief from the congested border, you need to call President Biden and tell him to keep the Title 42 policy that has been in place for years.”

Hours before Abbott’s announcement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement criticizing the governor over the disruptions and warning that the entire nation would feel the effects of supply chain disruptions.

A long line of trucks awaiting inspection at the Zaragoza International Bridge on April 12, 2022 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
A long line of trucks awaiting inspection at the Zaragoza International Bridge on April 12, 2022 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
EPA/Luis Torres

“Governor Abbott’s unnecessary and superfluous inspections of trucks transiting ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are causing significant disruption to food and automotive supply chains, delaying manufacturing, hurting jobs and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country,” it said read the statement. “Commercial traffic has dropped by as much as 60[%]. The continued flow of legitimate trade and travel and the CBP’s ability to do its job should not be impeded. Governor Abbott’s actions impact people’s jobs and the livelihoods of hard-working American families.”

At her afternoon briefing, Psaki declined to assess the economic impact of Abbott’s announcement, but reiterated, “I think the overarching view, not only from us but also from trade associations, officials and companies, is that these are unnecessary inspections and that they focus on the economy.”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/13/texas-gov-greg-abbott-ends-some-border-cargo-inspections-after-protest/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ends some border freight inspections after protests

JACLYN DIAZ

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