Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's truck inspection policy turned up zero drugs and caused hours-long backlogs at the border
Greg Abbott's efforts to stamp out drug smugglingturned up zero drugs or contraband.
- The Texas Tribune obtained data showing the truck inspection policy found mostly equipment violations.
The Republican governor announced the policy earlier this month, instructing state troopers to inspect every commercial truck arriving in the US from border states in an attempt to stamp out "cartel-facilitated smuggling." The effort was implemented despite US Customs and Border Protection already having a policy in place to routinely inspect commercial cargo coming from Mexico.
Troopers conducted more than 4,100 inspections of trucks over an 8-day period beginning on April 8, according to Department of Public Safety data obtained by The Tribune. While troopers failed to find any contraband, they did take 850 trucks off the road for various equipment violations, including underinflated tires, oil leaks, and faulty turn signals, the outlet reported.
The double-inspection policy also resulted in a backlog of 18-wheelers on both sides of the border. Truckers reported wait times as long as 30 hours for a process that typically takes only a couple of hours. The delays led to shipping delays and $240 million of spoiled produce.
The inspections drew harsh criticism from Mexican truck drivers, who blocked traffic at one of the busiest entry points into Texas earlier this month in protest. White House press secretary Jen Psaki also slammed the policy, calling it "unnecessary" and "redundant."
During a Friday press conference, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw attributed the dearth of recovered contraband to Abbott's policy, saying drug cartels "don't like troopers stopping them," according to The Tribune. But an immigration expert told the outlet that the 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.
Abbott on Friday announced that the policy would end after he signed agreements with multiple Mexican governors who said they would ramp up security measures to prevent smuggling.
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