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Below is the email from Britton Mullen, President Border Trade Alliance on the TX DPS Inspections.
The BTA has been working diligently with its members to urge Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to roll back his order directing DPS to increase commercial vehicle inspections at the border. The disruptions and miles-long backups not only harm the Texas and U.S. economies but will have the opposite of their intended effect. A full wrap-up is below, including a link to a press conference on the issue from Rep. Henry Cuellar. Also, if you’re a board member and would like to join the BTA Board WhatsApp group, email Garrick for an invitation. There you’ll find timely updates from your fellow board members about what they’re seeing and hearing as this situation evolves.
More news on the Texas DPS inspections below, as well as news on the March 31 COAC meeting and a reminder about our June joint conference with the Wilson Center Mexico Institute.
MAJOR DELAYS AS TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT ISSUES ORDER FOR ENHANCED DPS COMMERCIAL VEHICLE INSPECTIONS
Commercial vehicles trying to enter the United States from Mexico have been backed up for hours at Texas ports of entry following Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive on Wednesday that the Texas Department of Public Safety increase inspections.
Gov. Abbott said his inspection order is justified as a reaction to the Biden administration’s plan to end the pandemic-era Title 42 public health measure that turned away most asylum seekers at the border.
“The Biden Administration’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous cartels and deadly drugs to pour into the United States, and this crisis will only be made worse by ending Title 42 expulsions. With the end of Title 42 expulsions looming next month, Texas will immediately begin taking unprecedented action to do what no state has done in American history to secure our border.”
BORDER TRADE ALLIANCE: DUPLICATIVE INSPECTIONS, COSTLY DELAYS IN TRADE
The BTA issued a statement opposing the new enhanced inspections. “We would oppose any state-level action that results in an inspection process that duplicates the inspections already performed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose work at the land border ports of entry is informed by highly attuned risk assessment models, intelligence gathering, and a commitment to the agency’s dual mission of enforcement and facilitation.” The Dallas Morning News covered the story and included our quotes.
The situation is evolving, but BTA is working all channels, formal and informal, official and political, federal, state, and local to bring this costly and highly disruptive inspection program to an end.
DPS INSPECTIONS HURT TRADE, ECONOMY
BTA board members and friends are joining our efforts in urging the governor to reverse the order.
Board member and Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz: “Longer lines means less trade. Supply chains are impacted as well as goods and services. Time is money. Border delays mean consumers are waiting and that can impact inflation too.”
Former BTA Chairman Gerry Schwebel of IBC: “Why can’t we figure it out? Immigration is a federal responsibility and this should not impede or impact the legitimate flow of commerce and people into our country. Why do you put this on us as border communities? I have a problem with anything that impedes the flow of legitimate goods and people along the border.”
Board member and Texas International Produce Assoc. CEO Dante Galeazzi: “Warehouses have staff sitting idle, with no trucks to unload. Buyers in other parts of the country cannot understand why their product is not available. US trucking companies are losing money as they sit around for days with no loads to haul. This is destroying our business and the reputation of Texas.” TIPA sent this letter to Gov. Abbott opposing the directive.
Board members and Fresh Produce Assoc. of the Americas CEO Lance Jungmeyer: “Food shortages will rise as we head into Easter. Trucks are running out of diesel fuel to run refrigerated units on the trailers, resulting in catastrophic damage to highly perishable fresh fruits and vegetables. This means that even when a truck is able to cross the border eventually, the product could be damaged significantly.”
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar: “The best thing to do is to let the governor know that what he’s doing is not accomplishing what he wants. I don’t know what this has to do with Title 42. This is impacting trade, commerce.” Rep. Cuellar will hold a press conference this morning at 9:30 am CT that will stream via Facebook Live.
NEW CBP COMMISSIONER MAGNUS ATTENDS FIRST COAC PUBLIC MEETING
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus attended COAC’s March 31 public meeting, the first in-person edition since the pandemic. Twelve of the 20 COAC members and all five alternates are new to the committee. “To those of you who are new COAC members, I want to thank you for your willingness to take on this incredibly important work with us to modernize trade and tackle the many big challenges in front of the trade community. Your collaboration with CBP and willingness to provide us with frank, thoughtful feedback is what makes this committee so valuable,” said Magnus, who co-chaired the meeting. The commissioner recognized that CBP and the trade community wouldn’t always agree on everything. “But we can commit to be honest, transparent and to take your needs and concerns into consideration,” said Magnus. “As commissioner, I will always be forthright, make myself available to you and be willing to tackle the tough issues.”