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Texas halts truck inspections that caused border gridlock

AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday repealed his traffic-clogging immigration order that backed up commercial trucks at the United States-(US)-Mexico border, after a week of intensifying backlash and fears of deepening economic losses.

The Republican governor dropped his new rules that had required all commercial trucks from Mexico to undergo extra inspections to curb the flow of migrants and drugs and ratcheted up a fight with the Biden administration over immigration policy.

Some truckers reported waiting more than 30 hours to cross. Others blocked one of the world’s busiest trade bridges in protest.

Abbott, who is up for re-election in November and has made the border his top issue, fully lifted the inspections after reaching agreements with neighbouring Mexican states that he said outline new commitments to border security.

The last one was signed with the governor of Tamaulipas, who earlier this week said the inspections were overzealous and created havoc. On Friday, he joined Abbott and said they were ready to work together.

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

Pressure was building on Abbott to retreat as gridlock on the border worsened. The American Trucking Association called the inspections “wholly flawed, redundant and adding considerable weight on an already strained supply chain”. One customs agency in Mexico estimated the losses at millions of dollars a day, and produce distributors warned of empty shelves and higher prices if the order was not rescinded soon.

Abbot acknowledged the trade slowdowns but showed no sign of regret. He said he was prepared to re-impose the inspections if Mexican states don’t hold up their end of the deal.

“I’m not hesitant to do so whatsoever,” Abbott said.

Truckers block the entrance into the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Ciudad Juarez going into New Mexico. PHOTO: AP