MISSION, Texas – The president of the Border Trade Alliance says Gov. Greg Abbott should not duplicate border inspections already being conducted U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Britton Mullen, pictured above, said her group is urging the Governor’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security “to work cooperatively to meet the country’s security and economic needs.”

Abbott announced DPS would be inspecting trucks coming from Mexico soon after the Biden Administration said it would no longer enforce Title 42 at the border. Title 42 allows the federal government to turn back migrants on health grounds. The policy was first implemented at border ports of entry by the Trump Administration at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“With the ending of Title 42 expulsions, more must be done. A series of new strategies that will be added on to Operation Lone Star to curtail the flow of drug cartel smuggling of migrants and drugs,” Abbott said, at a news conference at the DPS regional headquarters in Weslaco last week.

“The first involves inspections. A zero tolerance policy for unsafe vehicles for smuggling migrants across the border is being implemented immediately,” Abbott said.

“Cartels use vehicles many of them dangerous commercial trucks to smuggle immigrants, deadly fentanyl, and other illegal cargo into Texas and onto our roadways. Effective immediately the Texas Department of Public Safety will conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross the international ports of entry into Texas.”

Abbott said he was implementing the inspections even though it would harm cross border trade.

“Now I know in advance this is going to dramatically slow traffic from Mexico into Texas. It is a byproduct of cartels crossing the border from Mexico into Texas,” Abbott said. 

Mullen fears Abbott’s new policy will exacerbate the country’s current supply chain crisis.

“The Border Trade Alliance believes strongly that cross-border trade and travel efficiency should be balanced with security,” Mullen said.

“We would oppose any state-level action that results in an inspection process that duplicates the inspections already performed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose work at the land border ports of entry are informed by highly attuned risk assessment models, intelligence gathering, and a commitment to the agency’s dual mission of enforcement and facilitation.”

Mullen added: 

“While border states like Texas have an important to role to play in ensuring truck safety and code compliance, the state should be working in collaboration with CBP, not engaging in a new inspection scheme that will slow the movement of freight, which will only exacerbate the country’s supply chain crisis and put even more upward pressure on consumer prices.

“The BTA would urge the Governor’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security to work cooperatively to meet the country’s security and economic needs.”

Rep. Gonzalez’s viewpoint

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen was highly critical of Abbott’s border truck inspection policy.

“Governor Abbott’s Texas border truck inspection enforcement action is impractical and detrimental to our local economy. Our state and our nation depend on the reliable, uninterrupted flow of goods to meet our nation’s needs by implementing this action,” Gonzalez said.

“Governor Abbott is exacerbating the supply chain crisis to further his crusade at the border. In halting legitimate trade, he is hurting Texans – the people he was elected to serve. I urge the governor to rescue this action immediately and restore normal trade operations along the southern border.”

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