Mexican cartels are outsmarting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's truck inspections

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mexican cartels are outsmarting Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, and we will literally pay the price for it.

Abbott’s troopers are conducting safety inspections on commercial vehicles driving into Texas looking for drugs and immigrants. In protest, the truckers are blocking key points of entry, bringing international traffic and trade to a halt.

The feds already conduct safety inspections on trucks. But Texas’ additional inspection is delaying goods from Mexico and causing gridlock at ports that handle $400 billion in annual trade.

The fallout, experts say, will make an already strained supply chain worse.

It also shows the absurdity of some of Abbott’s immigration crackdowns.

Texas inspectors have found no drugs or humans

A long line of trucks is seen stalled at the Zaragoza International Bridge, one of two ports of entry in Ciudad Juarez going into the U.S. on April 12, 2022. The truckers blocked both north and southbound commercial lanes in protest after prolonged processing times implemented by Gov. Abbott which they say have increased from 2-3 hours up to 14 hours in the last few days.

Case in point. Texas’ safety troopers have removed 646 trucks from service out of 2,685 inspected so far. But not because they found dangerous drugs or humans hidden in compartments or among the goods being hauled from Mexico.

Nope. The taxpayer-funded troopers instead are taking trucks out of service for violations that include “burned-out headlights or taillights, defective brakes or flawed tires,” according to The Wall Street Journal and other media reports.

Abbott, who’s made drug and immigration crackdowns top issues of his reelection campaign, has said that “cartels use vehicles, many of them dangerous commercial trucks, to smuggle immigrants, deadly fentanyl and other illegal cargo into Texas.”

That may be the case. But are Abbott and his people dumb enough to think the cartels would actually continue to use commercial trucks after he made a huge public circus out of his operation?

The governor and his people are, of course, mum now about the fact that their inspections have produced no drugs nor humans being smuggled into the country inside those trucks.

This is just for show, like Abbott's busses

That only proves that some of Abbott’s crackdowns are just for show, like his idea to transport migrants to Washington, D.C.

With much fanfare, Abbott announced last week that he’d be bussing “illegal immigrants” to the U.S. Capital in protest of Biden’s decision to end the pandemic-related Title 42 that has been used to expel most asylum seekers.

That, too, turned out to be a mockery.

Abbott is in fact bussing immigrants to D.C., but he failed to explain that the free rides are voluntary and that they’re only offered to those who’ve already gone through the federal immigration process.

That means the “illegal immigrants” he’s transporting aren’t really “illegal” anymore and that these folks are just choosing to go to D.C. – for free.

As CNN immigration reporter Priscilla Alvarez reports: ​​​​

“After being released, the migrants said they were offered a bus ride to Washington DC. It was voluntary. The bus ride was over 30 hours, the migrants said. They were provided food and water and while a long journey, the migrants said it was a good trip.”

Why not take the free trip and head over to the final destination, right?

This circus won't fool cartels or solve the problem

What Abbott has done is create a circus filled with a mix of stunts and practical crackdowns, like having state police arrest migrants on misdemeanor trespassing charges, sending thousands of National Guard troops to the border and building a wall with state dollars.

Abbott’s hodgepodge policies to crack down on drugs and immigrants are surely meant to confuse voters on what’s practical and what’s just political posturing.

But Abbott isn’t tricking the cartels.

Plus, if the cartels would still dare to smuggle drugs or people via commercial trucks, U.S. customs and Border Protection agents would likely be first to catch the contraband.

In response to the trucking border crisis, the agency said its agents are doing their job inspecting vehicles at points of entry. And yes, they have caught drugs. Agents seized more than 900,000 pounds of narcotics during fiscal 2021 and more than 250 pounds of drugs through the end of February.

But this is about politics, not about really going after drug and human smugglers. If the latter were the case, Abbott would work with Democrats to “secure the border.”

Instead, Abbott is willing to hurt nearly $400 billion in trade with Mexico to stay in power.

Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

Subscribe to get more opinions content.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Gov. Greg Abbott's truck inspections hurt us, not the cartels