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Showdown on Texas Highways as Gov. Increases Security Checks to Hinder Smugglers

author Published by Chris Pierce

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to perform secondary inspections on vehicles crossing into the United States via the Texas-Mexican border.

Gov. Abbott launched the security measure after news of the Biden Administration’s decision to lift the CDC’s pandemic border emergency, Title 42, circulated. Title 42 allowed federal immigration authorities to turn back all migrants at the southern border immediately. Approximately 50% of migrants were turned away under the order in March.

According to the Governor, the secondary inspections are necessary to pick up where the current administration is failing to hinder the endless flow of illegal substances and migrants smuggled across the border. Abbott stated that the inspections were intended to intercept both aliens and illicit substances.

As reported by the New York Post, Texas DPS troopers currently plan to inspect each vehicle, including commercial trucks, individually, despite the searches taking approximately 45 minutes per vehicle.

Mexico is Texas’s number one trading ally, doing an estimated $442 billion in business last year. Governor Abbott’s security-check order has undoubtedly ruffled some feathers – drawing the ire of his gubernatorial opponent Robert O’Rourke who tweeted that ‘Abbott’s “newest political stunts” are making inflation worse.’ Democrat Congressman Henry Cuellar also spoke out against the safety measures.

The additional inspections have not just upset proponents of open borders in the U.S. but also Mexican truck drivers who cross the southern border regularly to deliver imported products. In response, the Mexican drivers have begun to protest, shutting down a significant point of entry to the United States, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge. The bridge that connects Pharr and Reynosa is the busiest trade crossing in the Rio Grande Valley handling the majority of the produce that crosses into the U.S.

According to the Washington Times, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection said commercial traffic has been “100%” shut down because of the Mexican protests, aimed at Mr. Abbott’s decision to stiffen state inspections on commercial vehicles that cross the border,” with truckers complaining that, “the new inspections take too long and are redundant.”

The supply-chain backups caused by the inspections and subsequent protests have sparked concerns about possible reductions in produce deliveries from Mexico like avocados, broccoli, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes. However, Todd Bensman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the additional supply-chain inconvenience may have been part of Mr. Abbott’s plan all along.

Bensman stated in his CIS article “Texas Hold-Em on Border Bridges”:

In my opinion, Texas officials cannot and will not say that’s what they intended, to purposefully inflict economic pain to force the Biden administration and/or Mexico to pay attention to Texas concerns about the coming migrant tidal wave… to dam it up, clear it out, whatever. Is this a fix-it-or-suffer economic pain strategy in the vein of Donald Trump?

If it is, the governor may well be on to something. During the Trump years, Mexico responded dutifully and with impact when that president threatened progressive trade tariffs on all Mexican products shipped through the ports of entry.

“Texas is making sure Biden knows about the border crisis he created,” Gov. Abbott’s campaign office described in an email to supporters.

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