Commercial truck traffic in El Paso
Commercial vehicles go through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for inspection before entering El Paso from Ciudad Juárez at the Bridge of the Americas on April 8th. (Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune(

Like his coun­ter­part Ron DeSan­tis in Flori­da, Texas’ Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott is obsessed with pleas­ing Don­ald Trump’s base and becom­ing a foil to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden through any means at his dis­pos­al, includ­ing harm­ful, divi­sive leg­is­la­tion, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al exec­u­tive orders, lit­i­ga­tion, and media manipulation.

How­ev­er, Abbot­t’s eager­ness for con­flict with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has now land­ed him in hot water with the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, both in and beyond Texas. Busi­ness lead­ers are furi­ous that truck traf­fic across the bor­der with Mex­i­co has most­ly ground to a halt due to the imple­men­ta­tion of Abbot­t’s scheme requir­ing trucks to be “inspect­ed” by state lev­el offi­cials answer­able to him.

Abbott and his fans call it “Oper­a­tion Lone Star.”

Pret­ty much every­one else calls it stu­pid.

“The new inspec­tions mea­sures are cre­at­ing hav­oc and eco­nom­ic pain on both sides of the bor­der, and as a this Quad-State region suf­fers, so is Texas and vice-ver­sa,” not­ed two Mex­i­can state-lev­el gov­er­nors. “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, polit­i­cal points have nev­er been a good recipe to address com­mon chal­lenges or threats.”

But Abbott seem­ing­ly does­n’t care. He made it clear today that he does not want or intend to unwind the scheme with­out more sym­bol­ic “agree­ments” with Mex­i­can states that he can use to claim that he’s get­ting results.

Last week, the Pres­i­dent of the Trans­porta­tion Club of DFW pre­dict­ed in com­ments to the Dal­las Morn­ing News that Abbot­t’s scheme would lead to “chaos.” Said Nor­ma Jean Payne: “We’ve had so many prob­lems in our sup­ply chain over the last year and a half, two years — I don’t think any­thing that’s going to delay or cause any more prob­lems is a wise deci­sion right now.”

“There’s got to be a bet­ter way to han­dle this,” she added.

Fel­low Repub­li­can Sid Miller, Texas’ Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sion­er, called on Abbott to back down and rescind the scheme, say­ing: “You can­not solve a bor­der cri­sis by cre­at­ing anoth­er cri­sis at the bor­der. These Lev­el 1 inspec­tions serve as a ‘clog in the drain’ and divert com­merce and jobs to more west­ern ports of entry.”

“This is not solv­ing the bor­der prob­lem, it is increas­ing the cost of food and adding to sup­ply chain short­ages. Such a mis­guid­ed pro­gram is going to quick­ly lead to $2.00 lemons, $5.00 avo­ca­dos and worse.”

Miller has also open­ly bro­ken with Abbott in com­ments to reporters, say­ing: “This has real­ly back­fired on him. It’s com­pound­ed the prob­lem, in my opinion.”

Abbot­t’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent Beto O’Rourke trav­eled to Lare­do to address the peo­ple of the Lone Star State from one of its busiest bor­der cross­ings, exco­ri­at­ing Abbott for chok­ing essen­tial commerce.

O’Rourke also post­ed a video of backed up trucks wait­ing to move.

“High­er prices, more sup­ply chain prob­lems, few­er gro­ceries and goods in our stores. Abbott is hurt­ing the Texas econ­o­my,” O’Rourke tweet­ed today.

The White House, mean­while, released a scathing state­ment blast­ing Abbott and mak­ing it unequiv­o­cal­ly clear that he and his regime are to blame for the mess.

“Gov­er­nor Abbott’s unnec­es­sary and redun­dant inspec­tions of trucks tran­sit­ing ports of entry between Texas and Mex­i­co are caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tions to the food and auto­mo­bile sup­ply chains, delay­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, impact­ing jobs, and rais­ing prices for fam­i­lies in Texas and across the coun­try,” said White House Press Sec­re­tary Jen Psa­ki in a mes­sage pub­lished around 8:17 AM Cen­tral Time.

“Local busi­ness­es and trade asso­ci­a­tions are call­ing on Gov­er­nor Abbott to reverse this deci­sion because trucks are fac­ing lengthy delays exceed­ing five hours at some bor­der cross­ings and com­mer­cial traf­fic has dropped by as much as six­ty per­cent. The con­tin­u­ous flow of legit­i­mate trade and trav­el and CBP’s abil­i­ty to do its job should not be obstruct­ed. Gov­er­nor Abbott’s actions are impact­ing people’s jobs, and the liveli­hoods of hard­work­ing Amer­i­can families.”

Abbott is seek­ing reelec­tion to anoth­er term as gov­er­nor of Texas this autumn. He was eas­i­ly renom­i­nat­ed a few weeks ago in the state’s Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, dis­patch­ing Allen West and oth­er rivals. West is among the Repub­li­cans who have crit­i­cized Abbot­t’s bor­der-relat­ed schemes, call­ing them counterproductive.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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