Mexican minister accuses Texas governor of extortion over border inspections
Mexico’s foreign affairs minister accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) of extorting Mexican governors when he created backlogs at several ports of entry by upping inspections of commercial trucks crossing the border.
Abbott reached deals with four Mexican governors who agreed to up security on their side of the border in exchange for Texas relaxing the inspections.
Marcelo Ebrard described Abbott’s actions as “extortion” during a visit to the Mexican province of Nuevo Leone this weekend, according to Mexican newspaper Milenio.
“An agreement is that you and I agree on something, and the problem of migration is not from Mexico, it is the decisions that the United States must make,” Ebrard said.
“I do not judge, I believe that the governors do what they can — they had no other alternative — but we are not going to be willing for a governor to extort money from Mexico. I will never allow that,” he added.
Abbott ordered Texas state police to thoroughly inspect every commercial truck at the border in early April, after a record surge of migrants in March and President Biden’s announcement that he would lift Title 42, a policy allowing the government to turn away asylum seekers during a health emergency.
The move created backlogs that affected cross-border agriculture trade and and other shipments, leading the governors of Nuevo Leone, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas to reach individual agreements with Abbott on enhancing border security.
“Border governors can achieve results when we work together and put the safety of our constituents first,” Abbott said in a statement on April 15 after the deals were made.
“While President Biden ignores the ongoing crisis at the border, the State of Texas will continue to work with heads of state in Mexico to further strengthen our comprehensive border strategy.”
The new agreements covered a range of increased measures in the Mexican provinces, including an agreement the Chihuahua police implement new security technology that could cost as much as $200 million.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador quickly knocked Abbott for the move, calling it a “very despicable way to act” a few days after the last agreement was made, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“With all due respect, states have no legal authority to do agreements with a foreign country,” the president said, according to the outlet. “Instead of thinking — and I say this respectfully — ‘How will I fix the problem of inflation?’ He is politicizing and even violating international rights.”
Abbott has also faced criticism from the Biden administration and other Texas officials over the truck stops.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) noted the policy might have ruined hundreds of millions of dollars worth of fresh produce, while not achieving improved border security.
Despite stopping more than 4,000 commercial vehicles, the truck inspections did not turn up any type of contraband or illegal weapons.