Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Alejandro Garcia announced an agreement to cooperate on border security. The two governors signed the historic Memorandum of Understanding at a press conference on April 13 in Laredo, Texas.
The agreement follows on the heels of a recent order by Abbott to inspect nearly all trucks entering Texas from Mexico. The inspections, carried out by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), resulted in hours-long delays and commercial traffic snarls at the border.
Commercial vehicles are being inspected under Texas DPS regulations to ensure they are fit for Texas roads. Trucks that do not pass safety inspections are refused entry until the defects can be corrected.
Abbott instituted the procedure in response to the Biden administration’s decision to lift Title 42 — a pandemic-era policy that allowed border officials to turn away lawful and unlawful migrants, and asylum seekers.
Garcia said he instituted a series of new security checkpoints on the highway leading to the border crossing on Monday. The stops are intended to establish vehicle safety checks and ensure that drugs and unlawful migrants are not smuggled into Texas.
In return, Abbott agreed to reduce the inspection of trucks from Nuevo Leon to allow commerce to resume flowing across the border. After signing the memorandum, Abbott declared that DPS inspections in Laredo would end immediately.
“Today is a historic day, where two governors are showing how to lead on border issues,” Abbott said. “Bridges have become clogged because of a policy by Texas to thoroughly inspect vehicles coming from Mexico. These inspections revealed that about 25% of these vehicles were unsafe for Texas roads.”
Garcia said that after meeting with truck drivers and others in the border area and speaking with Abbott by phone, it became clear that immediate action was necessary.
“The Texas alliance we are building is very important,” Garcia said. “Security is a key issue for both countries, and that is why I am very happy to make history, because today, two states are making a memorandum of understanding that we have to help both sides to have a border with much more security.”
Abbott later admitted that the policy to inspect vehicles was aimed at pressuring Mexico to do more to provide security at the border. The governor said that the failure of the Biden administration to maintain Title 42 policies, along with other “open border” practices, had led to significant strains on consumers and law enforcement in the South Texas area and throughout the state.
“The goal all along has been to make sure that people understood the consequences of an open border and that Texas isn’t going to tolerate it anymore,” Abbott said. “We knew that as soon as we did what we did on the border, we would be contacted by officials in Mexico because it is a very high price to pay.”
Garcia explained that the border crossing, which typically took about 20 minutes, had extended to five or six hours, causing shipments of fresh produce to spoil and leading to significant problems with getting goods moved into the marketplaces in the U.S.
“Nuevo Leon is going to compromise to improve its security, and I want to ensure that Texas feels comfortable doing business and having an effective and quicker border,” Garcia said. “If Nuevo Leon can assure security, technology, security checkpoints and patrol the border to help Texas, and Texas can help us with more merchandise, more commerce, we will do it.”
Abbott said that the only U.S-Mexico port of entry affected by the agreement is the one that joins Nuevo Leon with Laredo, Texas, at the Laredo-Colombia Solidarity International Bridge. The two states share a mere 9 miles of the total 1,241-mile international border between Texas and Mexico.
All other crossings will continue to require mandatory inspections until other Mexican border-states make similar agreements with Texas. Abbott noted in a press release that other Mexican states along the border have already begun to contact his office.