Texas repeals immigration inspection order that caused border gridlock


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday repealed his traffic-choking immigration ordinance that blocked commercial trucks at the U.S.-Mexico border, after a week of intensifying backlash and fears of worsening economic losses.

The Republican governor ditched his new rules that required all commercial trucks arriving from Mexico to undergo additional inspections to curb the flow of migrants and drugs and engaged in a tussle with the Biden administration over immigration policy.

Some truckers said they waited over 30 hours to cross. Others blocked one of the world’s busiest commercial bridges in protest.

Abbott, who is up for re-election in November and has made the border his top issue, lifted inspections altogether after reaching agreements with neighboring Mexican states that he says set out new border security commitments. The latest was signed on Friday with the governor of Tamaulipas, who said this week that inspections were overzealous and taking their toll.

When Abbott first ordered the inspections, he did not say their lifting was conditional on such agreements with Mexico.

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Pressure mounted on Abbott to step down as the border traffic jam grew worse and frustration mounted. The American Trucking Association called the inspections “grossly flawed, redundant and adding tremendous weight to an already strained supply chain.”

The US-Mexico border is crucial to the US economy and is found further in Texas – approximately 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) – than in any other state. Last year, the United States imported $390.7 billion worth of goods from Mexico, second only to China.

Abbott began inspections after the Biden administration said pandemic-related restrictions on seeking asylum at the border would be lifted on May 23. He called the inspections a “zero tolerance policy for dangerous vehicles” smuggling migrants. He said Texas would take several actions in response to the end of asylum restrictions, which should lead to an increase in the number of migrants coming to the border.

State troopers inspected more than 6,000 commercial vehicles over the past week, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Nearly one in four trucks were taken off the road for what the agency described as serious infractions, including faulty tires and brakes.

The agency made no mention of inspections revealing migrants or drugs.

Abbott also chartered buses to Washington, DC, for migrants who wanted to go there. The first dropouts came on Wednesday, drawing criticism from the Biden administration. On Thursday, US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said Texas was moving migrants without “adequate coordination” with the federal government.


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