Gregory Wayne Abbott is an American politician, attorney, and former judge who has been the 48th Governor of Texas since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he served as the 50th attorney general of Texas from 2002 to 2015 and as a member of the Texas Supreme Court from 1996 to 2001.
Amid Backlash, Texas Governor Repeals Border-Clogging Immigration Order
Gov. Greg Abbott indicated he might reintroduce the policy, under which all commercial trucks arriving at the border were checked if illegal crossings into Texas increased. Facing a growing backlash from political parties and business organizations, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Friday stopped his policy of checking all commercial trucks coming into the state from Mexico, a time-consuming process that has generated traffic backups of 14 hours or more at the border.
Mr. Abbott said his decision came after an agreement with the governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, who flanked him at a press conference on Friday, to boost up security measures on the Mexican side of the border at ports of entry and along the Rio Grande.
Mr. Abbott said earlier this week that the safety inspections, which began on April 6, were part of a coordinated effort to force Mexican officials to do more to stop the flow of migrants into the United States. He stated on Wednesday that he would end the inspections at one entrance point — the bridge between Laredo and the Mexican city of Colombia, Nuevo León — only because the governor of that state agreed to boost border security on the Mexican side.
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On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that he had agreements in place with the governors of all four Mexican states that border Texas to make them safer. He left open the prospect of reissuing a similar policy if crossings increased.
“If such crossings restart or rise, it will signify that cartel-supported crossings have increased and that Texas must reinstate the more strict vehicle inspection standard,” Mr. Abbott said, adding that the Texas Department of Public Safety may resume random examinations of vehicles entering Texas for the time being.
The policy was made as part of a larger fight that Mr. Abbott is having with the White House over immigration. With the Biden administration’s decision to halt a Trump-era pandemic policy in which the majority of unlawful migrants are turned away at the border under an emergency public health order known as Title 42, migrant arrivals are projected to skyrocket next month.
Mr. Abbott, two-term Republican seeking re-election in November, had pitched the inspections as a measure of addressing the anticipated repercussions of that policy’s discontinuation. Thousands more migrants are expected to request asylum over the border each day, with the majority of them entering Texas.
Mr. Abbott fiercely opposes some of the Biden administration’s efforts to relax Trump-era immigration restrictions. However, because only the federal government has authority over such matters, Mr. Abbott has explored creative ways to involve the state in immigration enforcement, such as arresting migrants for misdemeanor trespassing. The car inspections were part of that effort. As part of a carefully thought-out policy, the state used its power over vehicles to try to stop smugglers and migrants.
But a chorus of voices — including politicians from both parties, industry and trade groups, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection — asked the governor to withdraw the policy because of its effect on individuals and the broader economy at a time when the supply chain was already strained.
In a news release on Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection said delays were being felt at key commercial crossings into Texas as a result of “additional and unnecessary inspections” by state police, resulting in a decline in commercial traffic of up to 60 percent. “The strength of the American economy relies greatly on the efficient flow of cross-border commerce,” the agency added.
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