Speed Reads

Inflationary Pressure

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reopens some border crossings after bipartisan backlash, '$5 avocados'

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has begun rolling back new inspection rules for commercial trucks crossing into Texas from Mexico, following days of sometimes blistering criticism from businesses on both sides of the border, Mexican state and federal governments, the White House, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Democratic gubernatorial rival Beto O'Rourke, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R), among many others. 

Abbott's April 6 order that state troopers inspect all commercial traffic from Mexico snarled truck traffic at the border and led to a protest by Mexican truckers on Monday that halted trade at some major border crossings. 

"You cannot solve a border crisis by creating another crisis at the border," and with inflation high already, "this inspection program is turning a crisis into a catastrophe," Miller said in a statement Tuesday. "This is not solving the border problem, it is increasing the cost of food and adding to supply chain shortages. Such a misguided program is going to quickly lead to $2 lemons, $5 avocados, and worse." O'Rourke criticized "Abbott's political stunt" in a video Monday from the clogged Laredo crossing, saying, "What you see behind me is inflation."

Abbott, who is running for a third term this year, said Wednesday and Thursday that he will suspend the state inspections at border crossings with three states — Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Chihuahua — whose governors agreed to security deals in which Mexican police would check for drugs and migrants on their side of the border. Some of those arrangements have been in place for months, The Texas Tribune reports, and others are expected to be toothless or temporary.

Abbott says his "enhanced safety inspections" and free bus rides to Washington for undocumented migrants are necessary to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration, calling it a response to the Biden administration's decision to halt COVID-prompted Title 42 public health deportations. On Wednesday, neither Abbott nor the Department of Public Safety "could point to any drug seizures or encounters with undocumented migrants," the Tribune reports.

Abbott's "stunt" is "costing Texans and Americans dearly while doing nothing to secure the border," The Wall Street Journal argued Thursday in an editorial called "Greg Abbott's $5 Avocados." CBP already inspects trucks "with X-ray scans and drug-sniffing dogs," and "Abbott's infections" won't prevent increased border crossings "at non-ports of entry" after Title 42 is gone. Read the entire refutation at The Wall Street Journal.