LAREDO, Texas – U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday urging him to immediately stop the duplicative inspections at Texas land ports of entry.
The Democrat, who represents District 28 which includes the city of Laredo, said the secondary inspections conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety have caused major roadway backups at entries connecting the U.S. and Mexico.
Cuellar said the backups have resulted in a 35%-60% drop in commercial traffic that is adversely affecting trade and the supply chain for consumer goods entering the U.S.
“Requiring the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to conduct mechanical inspections (breaks, tires etc.) does nothing to address Title 42 except provide costly delays to the United States supply chain,” Cuellar said in the letter. “Your duplicative mechanical inspections have been costly to the local, state and national economies. None of the violations from these inspections involve the smuggling of drugs or people.
“Since the inspections began, the Hidalgo/Pharr port of entry reached a peak wait time of 320 minutes. The average is 63 minutes. The result has been a 35% decrease in commercial traffic. Colombia Solidarity Bridge, which averages a 26-minute wait time, reached a peak wait time of 300 minutes and has seen over a 60% drop in commercial traffic,” he said.
Abbott announced the vehicle inspections on April 6 in response to what he said was a failure on the Biden administration’s part to manage the high number of migrant crossings at the country’s southern border.
DPS has never checked every commercial vehicle entering Texas from Mexico, and it is unclear how thoroughly state troopers are inspecting the vehicles.
“In the interests of all Texans, we must ensure that the state resources are deployed in the most effective manner possible and not to the detriment of the communities that we represent. I am asking you to stand down the DPS inspections immediately,” Cuellar said.
Some Republicans are also calling on Abbott to end the DPS inspections. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on Tuesday called on Abbott to halt the policy, calling the measure “political theater” and predicting it will leave grocery store shelves empty within weeks.
Editor’s note: The Texas Tribune contributed to this article.
You can read the letter in its entirety below: