Governor Abbot’s border crackdown is now over, but we’re finally seeing the fruits of his labor. Although there were no reported citations of illegal immigrants, weapons, or drugs found, there may be something even scarier that came from the incentive: inflation. The border crackdown has cost America at least $1 billion in delays or ruined imports. This money affects Mexico and America equally, and the loss is already starting to take a toll. In a time with out-of-control inflation, Greg Abbott may have just thrown the final straw on the proverbial camel’s back.
$202 million per day. That is the economic loss that America and Mexico suffered every day that the truck crackdown continued. The Commissioner of Texas Agriculture called the event a catastrophe. Truckers protested the 30-hour wait times at the border that stretched more than 10 miles long. They created a blockade on the Pharr bridge for 3 days until Abott overturned the ruling. Hundreds of tons of produce spoiled in hot trucks and shipping delays stretched across America.
The Laredo border crossing and El Paso are two of the busiest border crossings in the United States. Almost 40,000 trucks cross the Laredo border every week. About 2% of them are subject to a level 1 inspection. This inspection takes anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour. During the crackdown, 100% of trucks received a level 1 inspection. This created delays and frustration for truckers from the United States and Mexico.
Governor Abbot isn’t shy about his decision. He ran his campaign on the point that he would crack down on the border. When President Biden overturned Title 42, he assumed there would be a surge of migrants that would enter Texas. It wasn’t until he signed a pact with Mexican governors was he satisfied to stop the inspections. However, threats that the inspections will continue if he’s not satisfied constantly loom over the border.
America’s Economic Future after the Border Crackdown
Even before the border crackdown, inflation was out of control in America. Federal rulings are hoping to curb this by increasing interest rates and through other financial instruments. Energy and gasoline are up 32%, natural gas is up 48%, and electricity is up 11.1%. Wholesale food prices are up 12.8% and fresh and dry vegetables are up 42% and still climbing. The impact of the blockade isn’t helping these numbers, especially when it comes to produce.
This unprecedented crackdown baffles economists who don’t know when prices will come back down. The crackdown is over and the border is running quicker again, but nowhere near as fast as it was before the crackdown. This means that Abbot still subjects an increased number of commercial trucks to inspection. The governor’s office has not released any numbers to show the benefits of these crackdowns but claims the border is back and running as normal. In the meantime, New Mexico couldn’t be happier as they are now a reliable means of crossing the border for commercial truckers. They are receiving an economic boost from the increasing number of truckers in their state. Texas truck stops and communities that rely on truckers passing through their towns are suffering as truckers move elsewhere.
The coming November election will decide if Texans approve of the crackdown. This is where Governor Abbot will have a chance to defend a decision that even his fellow Republicans call a catastrophe. Will Texans approve of this when they’re paying double the cost at the grocery store? It is only one issue of the laundry list of issues that surfaced from this border crackdown that Governor Abbot will have to answer for.