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Abbott, Chihuahua governor strike deal to ease border delays

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gabriel C. Pérez
Gov. Greg Abbott leads a roundtable discussion on public safety priorities last year. On Thursday, he announced he won't lift his enhanced vehicle inspections until other Mexican governors follow the steps of states like Nuevo León and Chihuahua.

For the second day in a row, a Mexican state has agreed to enhanced vehicle inspections on its side of the border to improve traffic flow on the bridges connecting to Texas.

“Chihuahua is doing more than just talking about this; they have an organized game plan to step up and address illegal immigration from Chihuahua into Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters at a news conference Thursday announcing a deal with Chihuahua Gov. María Eugenia Campos Galván.

In exchange, Abbott said he will end additional inspections on state land.

Chihuahua’s proposals were already in place before the meeting. Galván outlined them to Abbott, and that was enough to convince him to stop the searches.

Galván said her government is spending about $200 million on technology that tracks vehicles — an effort she hopes will help catch those involved in cartels.

Galván joins Nuevo Leon’s Gov. Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda in pledging to increase security on the Mexican side of the border.

Since last week, Texas has been searching commercial vehicles after they go through federal inspections at ports of entries.

This has caused hours-long delays on the bridges and prompted a blockade in protest by Mexican truckers.

Republicans and Democrats alike have called on Abbott to drop the searches.

He has said he won’t stop unless other Mexican governors do more to prevent unauthorized migrants from crossing the border.

Abbott acknowledged the controversial inspections by Texas law enforcement officials is meant to put pressure on Mexico.

"We knew that as soon as we did what we did on the border, that we would be contacted by officials in Mexico, because it is a very high price to pay with regard to what is going on on the border,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

Still, the governors of the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Coahuila have yet to reach an agreement with Abbott.

He said he will meet with them between Thursday and Friday.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the former Texas Capitol reporter for The Texas Newsroom.
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