- Governor Greg Abbott’s efforts to end drug smuggling resulted in zero drugs or contraband.
- The Texas Tribune obtained data showing that the truck inspection policy mostly found equipment violations.
- The double inspection policy has also resulted in a backlog of 18-wheelers on both sides of the border.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to step up commercial truck inspections at the border — an apparent effort to prevent illegal drugs and immigrants from being smuggled into Texas — has resulted in zero drugs, guns or contraband, according to The Texas Tribune.
The Republican governor announced the policy earlier this month, instructing state troopers to inspect all commercial trucks 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.
Soldiers conducted more than 4,100 truck inspections over an 8-day period starting April 8, according to Department of Public Safety data obtained by The Tribune. Although soldiers did not find any contraband, they took 850 trucks off the road for various equipment violations, including under-inflated tires, oil leaks and faulty turn signals, the agency said.
The double inspection policy has also resulted in a backlog of 18-wheelers on both sides of the border. Truck drivers have reported wait times of up to 30 hours for a process that normally takes just a few hours. The delays led to shipping delays and $240 million worth of spoiled goods.
An estimate by the Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic analysis firm, said the delays cost the US nearly $9 billion in gross domestic product and cost the state of Texas $4.2 billion in GDP.
The inspections drew sharp criticism from Mexican truckers, who blocked traffic at one of Texas’ busiest entry points earlier this month in protest. White House press secretary Jen Psaki also criticized the policy, calling it “unnecessary” and “redundant”.
During a press conference on Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw attributed the shortage of recovered contraband to Abbott’s policy, saying drug cartels “don’t like soldiers to stop them.” according to The Tribune. But an immigration expert told the agency that the policy likely played no role in any decrease in smuggling, as such contraband would likely have been found by federal immigration officials before the trucks were inspected a second time.
Abbott announced on Friday that the policy would end after he signed agreements with several Mexican governors that said they would increase security measures to deter smuggling.