Republican critic of Abbott happy with border policy switch

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — One of the Republican critics of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to add extra inspections to trucks at the U.S.-Mexican border said he was happy with the governor’s decision to end the plan that threatened the supply of produce of grocery store shelves.

“I’m certainly glad that he reversed course and recanted on this ill-advised measure because if he stayed with it another four or five days we would have had, for the third time and this administration, empty grocery store shelves in the produce aisle,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Lelend Vittert.”

Miller argued Abbott created a new border crisis when he engaged in a policy battle with U.S. President Joe Biden that led to trucks being back up for as long as 18 hours at the U.S.-Mexican border. Abbott’s police called for all trucks to be searched, instead of only some trucks being searched at random.

“We’ve got a border crisis,” Miller said. “Biden created a border crisis and we already have a shipping crisis, a delivery crisis and this just enhanced that. You can’t solve the border crisis by creating another crisis.”

Pressure to reverse the policy was coming at Abbott from all sides as critics said the governor’s policy did nothing to curb illegal immigration at the border and had created a multitude of other problems including wreaking havoc on produce supply at grocery stores.

Abbott announced a roll-back of the policy, which saddled trucks crossing the border with extra inspections, with Gov. María Campos Galván of Chihuahua, Mexico on Friday, harkening it as a policy victory.

“There is a sense of urgency now to reach deals that did not exist before,” Abbott said.

Miller was happy to see Abbott reverse course but still lamented the policy ever happening in the first place.

“I don’t think he had a victory, he recanted and backed off an ill-advised plan,” Miller said. “They did this for a week, they didn’t find not one illegal alien, found zero contraband.”

Abbott enacted this policy as part of a fight with President Joe Biden over Biden’s plan to end a COVID-19 era regulation, Title 42, that limited the number of asylum seekers allowed to cross the border, which is expected to increase border crossings.

Miller saw Abbott’s action to counter Biden as a step too far at border checkpoints already serving their function in checking trucks for contraband.

“They’ve already been inspected, they’ve been inspected for safety too,” Miller said. “This just absolutely was ill-advised.”

Miller alleges that Abbot never consulted with the agriculture department before enacting this measure and sent the Governor a letter in which he criticized his plan noting that 20,000 trucks had been backed up and fresh produce was spoiling during the trucks nearly 18-hour wait at the border.

A tit-for-tat scenario played out between Mexico and the United States when the Mexican border agents began holding up U.S. trucks trying to enter Mexico.

This led to truckers associations, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and many others to apply pressure to Abbott to end the ill-fated policy at the border, Miller said.

Supply chains in the United States have already been under heightened amounts of stress since the pandemic began and critics of Abbott argued his policy only further exacerbated and already crippled system.

Last year $390.7 billion worth of goods crossed the Mexican border into the United States, second to only China, according to the Associated Press.

On Wednesday the White House came down fiercely on Abbott’s border inspection policy.

“Governor Abbott’s unnecessary and redundant inspections of trucks transiting ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are causing significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains, delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation