UPDATE: 5 p.m. ET ― Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) slightly eased his new border policy on Wednesday afternoon by ordering state police to return to their previous practice of randomly inspecting vehicles coming from the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.
The 8 miles of border Nuevo Leon shares with Texas includes one bridge for international commercial crossings.
“The effect of this will be that the bridge from Nuevo Leone and Texas will return to normal effective immediately, right now,” Abbott said at a press conference, noting that Nuevo Leon officials have agreed to beef up border security on their side.
There are 12 other commercial crossings between Mexico and the U.S. that are still subject to Abbott’s tightened restrictions, according to the Texas Tribune.
Abbott positioned his policy as a response to the Biden administration’s decision to end a Trump-era mandate requiring migrants to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims were processed.
“If you want relief from the clogged border, you need to call President Biden,” Abbot said at the news conference.
A new truck inspection policy implemented by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is causing “significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, piling onto criticism of the new regulations.
Abbott ordered Texas state police to begin inspecting commercial deliveries crossing the border from Mexico last week, despite federal inspections already in place. He and other prominent Republicans claim without evidence that the southern border is overrun by drugs and human traffickers due to what they call President Joe Biden’s “open border policies.”
But Abbott’s new policy is “unnecessary and redundant,” Psaki said in her statement.
Long lines of commercial trucks have stalled at the border this week, some for half a day, leaving shipments of fresh fruit and vegetables to languish on truck beds at a time of year when the U.S. imports much of its produce from Mexico. Drivers are protesting the regulations by gearing up to impose blockades at international bridges, according to local media.
Psaki said the new inspections are “delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs, and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country.”
“The continuous flow of legitimate trade and travel and [Customs and Border Protection’s] ability to do its job should not be obstructed,” she said.
Trade groups and a bipartisan array of state officials have slammed Abbott’s decision, including Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.
In an open letter to Abbott, Miller called the governor’s “misguided policy” an example of “political theater” that will put untold strain on already stressed supply chains.
“Your inspection protocol is not stopping illegal immigration,” Miller wrote. “It is stopping food from getting to grocery store shelves and in many cases causing food to rot in trucks — many of which are owned by Texas and other American companies.”
Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association, told The New York Times that the situation at the southern border is “at crisis level now.”
“We are seeing delays that will be felt across the country,” John Esparza, president of the Texas Trucking Association, told The Washington Post.
“There are a half a dozen divisions of trucking [affected]. There’s the refrigerated segment of trucking, there’s household goods, forestry, fuel tankers, commodities for trade goods — this is about General Motors, Ford and everything coming out of Mexico, our trade partner,” Esparza told the outlet.