Texas economy

Defending massive loss to Texas economy, Abbott now says DPS was performing vehicle security checks, not looking for contraband or migrants

After saying for months that the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) border traffic inspection operation that stopped commercial vehicles in April was intended to catch shipments of fentanyl and migrants crossing illegally, the Gov. Greg Abbott now says he’s ordered the DPS to carry out the thorough inspections. for the general safety of the vehicle.

At a roundtable in El Paso last week, he downplayed the impact of his actions and the cost to the state’s economy. The week-long shutdown of transcontinental traffic would have cost the state’s economy $4.2 billion, according to a Houston Chronicle report. “To be clear on what DPS announced, the strategy for these inspections was, [was] do not look for drugs. Their purpose was to inspect the vehicles,” he said.

The Texas Tribune reported in April that during an eight-day period beginning that month, soldiers conducted more than 1,400 truck inspections. Although they found no evidence of smuggling, they pulled 850 trucks off the road for various equipment violations, including underinflated tires, broken turn signals and oil leaks.

The invasive stops did not result in seizures of contraband or illegal migrants. However, this resulted in millions of spoiled products, further complicating the effects of a struggling supply chain, grocery store prices and inflation, according to a CNN report.

Not only did the operation negatively impact the Texas economy, but it also impacted the US economy, as the Texas-Mexico border accounts for 65% of total trade between the two countries. Abbott, who is seeking a third term as governor, managed to anger truckers on both sides of the border but did little else.

So the question remains: why was it worth the billions in economic losses for the state to fine truckers for minor traffic violations? In what was called “a very costly blow” by his Democratic challenger for governor Beto O’Rouke, Abbott appeared unfazed by the economic damage caused and would not rule out future efforts.

Seeking a third term as governor, Abbott repeated his refrain that he is undertaking such efforts to protect the border, accusing Democrats of saying he would not hesitate to do so again if he deemed it necessary – to stop the importation of fentanyl – even though none of the fentanyl was found and the DPS was not looking for contraband.
The DPS’s border inspection efforts have been described as redundant by the US Customs and Border Patrol. (CBP) CBP routinely inspects commercial shipments from Mexico for evidence of any smuggling of illegal items into the United States as soon as the trucks pass through international checkpoints.