Texas Governor Greg Abbott halted all Mexican truck inspections after a week of protests, traffic jams and mounting outrage from business interests on both sides of the border.
The Republican leader of the second-largest U.S. state signed an agreement with the governor of the border state of Tamaulipas on Friday that ends vehicle-safety checks in exchange for increased vigilance south of the international line.
Tamaulipas was the fourth and final border state to ink such a deal after Abbott triggered gridlock and angry trucker protests with an April 6 crackdown on northbound commercial traffic. Although Abbott initially said his decree was intended to curb undocumented immigration and drug smuggling, Texas state troopers targeted highway-safety issues such as bad brakes and other mechanical issues.
Tamaulipas has pledged “to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico into Texas,” Abbott said during a joint press conference with Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca in the Texas border town of Weslaco on Friday.
Abbott warned that if enforcement south of the border falters and undocumented migration increases, he will reimpose the program of inspecting every commercial vehicle that crosses over.
The governors of Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua and Coahuila states agreed to similar arrangements in recent days.
Abbott’s clampdown paralyzed broad stretches of a border that sees more than $400 billion in annual trade, and raised the specter of bare grocery shelves and soaring produce prices amid already rampant food inflation.
Semi-truck shipments from Mexican factories to the U.S. plunged by 80% at the height of the crisis and at least one of Abbott’s fellow Republicans turned on him for his “catastrophic” strategy.