The announcement came after Abbott said he had reached agreements with a number of Mexican officials to improve border security.
The new Texas-led inspections were put in place last week, but they were decried by White House officials, who said the trucks had already been inspected by federal officials and the inspection again of the same trucks by state officials had created huge traffic jams. The huge traffic jams were expected to soon lead to food shortages and price spikes, among other things.
“As we speak, all of these bridges are reopened to normal traffic. And so all the goods that were going from country to country at a very rapid rate, they’re moving at this rapid rate as we speak right now,” Abbott said at a press conference with the governor of Tamaulipas late Friday afternoon. He added a caveat, that “if we see an increase [illegal] traffic across the border, we will strategically close some bridges.
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Abbott claimed he was waiving the requirement because Mexican officials had agreed to new security measures. He was under enormous pressure from business groups to back down due to major delays in deliveries, especially as fruit and vegetables were in danger of spoiling. It is unclear how long it will take for the backlog to clear up and for traffic to normalize along the border.
In a Fox Business interview, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called Abbott’s strategy “genius.” He said the governor was trying to slow the flow of trade to maximize pressure on Mexican officials.
“The governor understood that we could stop trade along the border, slow it down, and that will create pressure on Mexico and some of their governors to come to a deal to help us keep the borders secure.” , Paxton said.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Abbott met with the governors of a number of Mexican states that use Texas ports to import goods, striking deals that traded the cessation of his additional inspections for increased security at the borders of the from the Mexican government.
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He met with the governors of Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas, demanding promises of greater vigilance for illegal immigration, human trafficking and the movement of drug cartel products and weapons.
The two-term Republican up for re-election in November faced growing anger from business owners who echoed the sentiment of Little Bear Produce executive Bret Erickson that “As a Texas company, we have been really confused and disappointed by this decision by Governor Abbott, in a state that prides itself on being business-friendly. This was a direct hit to Texas businesses.
Instituted in response to the Biden administration’s announcement that a pandemic-era immigration slowdown would be halted beginning May 23, Abbott said his new inspections “send a message to the president and the Congress: Texas is tired of being the dumping ground for illegal immigrants crossing the border.
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Although the Texas Department of Public Safety has inspected more than 6,000 trucks since the enhanced protocols were instituted last Friday, when asked at a press conference Wednesday whether drugs or other objects of contraband had been found, Abbott responded that more than 20% of stopped vehicles had been found to pose correctable security risks. Abbott said he expected the inspections to have “saved lives”.