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Congresswoman Escobar Leads Letter Urging President Biden to Address Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Harmful Commercial Vehicles Inspection Policy at the Southern Border

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) led a letter to President Biden urging his Administration to address Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s harmful commercial vehicles inspection policy at the Southern Border.

The letter, which was co-signed by the entire Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, comes on the heels of Governor Abbott’s recent directive to increase inspections of commercial vehicles at land ports of entry, delaying commute times, disturbing supply chains, and threatening the stability of the local and national economies. 

“We write to express our grave concern with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent deputization of state troopers to conduct inspections of commercial vehicles crossing the U.S.-Mexico border—a state policy that is jeopardizing Congress’ and your Administration’s efforts to strengthen supply chains, support job creation, lower prices at the grocery store, and ensure the efficient flow of commerce through our ports of entry at the Southern Border,” the lawmakers wrote. “We appreciate the Administration’s recent statement criticizing this catastrophic policy and call on you to use a whole-of-government approach to end this harmful politicization of our border that is hurting Texas’s economy and threatening the livelihood of Texan families and businesses, which is a threat to economic growth and development across the country.” 

The lawmakers added, “These political stunts are hurting our communities; and today, they are threatening the economic well-being of Americans during times of high global inflation and supply chain shortages that have increased prices on consumers and disrupted normal business operations. Additional state inspections of commercial traffic are unnecessary and duplicative of what Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, though the Department of Homeland Security, are already doing to inspect incoming trucks at the border to detect and disrupt potential illegal activity while facilitating legitimate trade.” 

“Mexico is Texas’ largest trading partner with $442 billion of goods exchanged in 2021, $264 billion of which from imports. According to industry leaders, two-thirds of the fresh produce in Texas comes from Mexico, a lot of which is now sitting—and potentially spoiling—at the checkpoints where trucks are currently sitting for as long as nearly 30 hours. The enforcement of these state inspections is hindering the movement of such unpreserved goods like meat products, fruits, and vegetables, as well as medical and manufacturing supplies which are not only essential for the border communities of El Paso, Laredo, Pharr, and Brownsville, but U.S. businesses and industries everywhere. It is also inhumane, as truckers are forced to wait for hours without food, water, or use of restrooms due to the significant increase in wait times.”

“We are asking the Administration to work to address this devastating policy that is posing a direct threat to the growth and stability of our economy and both local and national supply chains,” concluded the lawmakers. 

The letter was also co-signed by U.S. Representatives Colin Allred (TX-32), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Al Green (TX-9), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

In addition to the White House, the letter was also sent to Secretary Pete Buttigieg, United States Department of Transportation; Ambassador Katherine Tai, Office of the United States Trade Representative; Ambassador Ken Salazar, United States Ambassador to Mexico; Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States; Commissioner Chris Magnus, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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