Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s policy to inspect every commercial truck entering the US from Mexico at the border found no drugs, weapons or other contraband.
Abbott implemented the policy in an effort to tackle “cartel-facilitated smuggling” in response to the Biden administration’s announcement that it will lift Title 42, a pandemic-era public health policy to rapidly expel migrants at the border. But after more than 4,100 inspections of trucks over an 8-day period beginning on April 8, state troopers found at least 345 trucks with underinflated tires, broken turn signals and oil leaks, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) data obtained by The Texas Tribune. 850 trucks were taken off the road for various violations related to their equipment and other truckers were given warnings.
Texas DPS director Steve McCraw said on Friday that the reason troopers did not find any drugs or migrants was because drug cartels “don’t like troopers stopping them,” according to The Tribune.
But immigration expert Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight at the Washington Office on Latin America, said that Abbott’s policy probably played no role in any smuggling decrease, as such contraband would likely have been found by federal immigration officials before the trucks were inspected a second time.
“It just seems odd to me that DPS would be that much of a deterrent for smugglers deciding whether to bring something after already passing through the gauntlet of CBP,” Isacson said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) routinely inspects commercial vehicles coming from Mexico for illegal drugs and people being smuggled as soon as truckers cross the international bridges, The Tribune noted.
Abbott’s unnecessary PR stunt resulted in a backlog of trucks on both sides of the border and turned a trip that would usually take a few hours into one that lasted more than 30 hours.
Texas-based economic analysis firm, The Perryman Group, estimated that the delays cost the US nearly $9 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and cost the state of Texas $4.2 billion in GDP.