Texas border inspections cause gridlock at U.S. entry

Immigration

(NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to execute safety checks on commercial vehicles at the U.S.-Mexico border is slowing down traffic and business.

The International Bridge in Pharr, Texas was closed Monday, snarling traffic on the Mexican side of the border, where some drivers say they’ve been in line for several days.

Abbott has dubbed the searches “safety checks,” but says state troopers are also searching for immigrants, illegal cargo and drugs. In the first two since the measure was announced, troopers conducted 2,500 inspections and identified more than 8,000 violations, a state trooper told NewsNation.

The manager of one central Texas restaurant said that more inspections have led to more delays and already, produce already is hard to come by, he said.

“As a small business owner, one of the things I’d like to be able to do is stock up,” restaurant manager Margarito Aranda said.

Abbott has said he knows the inspections will create delays but insists they’re necessary.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that it would end “Title 42,” a public health policy that limited immigrant asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Brandon Judd, a Border Patrol agent and head of their union, said officers will lose “complete control of the border” once the policy comes to an end in May. Instead, he’d like to see more strict policies, he said.

“It’s like a light switch,” Judd said. “The moment you stop releasing people, rewarding them for violating our laws, that’s the moment that they’ll stop coming.”

Abbott told border sheriffs in El Paso on Monday that, “The time to prepare (for the new CDC border policy) is now. If you wait until May, it may be too late.”

The governor also proposed busing migrants to Washington, D.C., but so far, no buses have been loaded.

“As we speak today, we have buses available in every region. We’re in any county you may be. Either there’s a bus there already or we can get you one in an hour,” Abbott said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Republicans are trying to politicize the situation and not fix “what we all recognize is an outdated and broken system.”

“Any Republican who wants to work with us on immigration reform, you’re invited,” Psaki said. “Let’s have a conversation. We have not seen an expression of that interest across the board.”

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