July 1, 2022



Gov. Greg Abbott truck inspections turned up zero drugs, migrants but cost Texas $4.2 billion

2 min read

Gov. Greg Abbott increasing inspections of commercial trucks entering from Mexico in the hopes of staunching illegal smuggling activity resulted in zero migrants detentions or illegal drug seizures, despite allegedly costing the Lone Star State billions of dollars. 

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller stated in an email to supporters this week that the enhanced truck inspections cost Texas consumers and businesses an estimated $4.3 billion “despite not catching a single illegal alien or confiscating a single gram of illegal drugs.”

“However, Governor Abbott successfully persuaded Mexico states to enhance security on their side of the border,” Miller added. “Both of these things are true at the same time.” 

The Texas Tribune reports that over an eight-day period beginning on April 8, troopers conducted more than 1,400 truck inspections. Despite no drugs being discovered, troopers managed to take 850 trucks off the road for various equipment violations, including under-inflated tires, broken turn signals and oil leaks. 

The inspections also created a backlog of 18-wheelers on both sides of the border, with some truckers reporting waiting more than 30 hours for a process that typically takes three hours, according to the Dallas Morning News. The delays resulted in $240 million in spoiled produce and empty shelves at local markets. 

Miller’s estimate roughly coincides with findings released by The Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic analysis firm, which estimates the delays cost the state $4.2 billion in gross domestic product and the U.S. nearly $9 billion in GDP. 

Abbott ordered the enhanced truck inspections in response to President Joe Biden ending Title 42, a border policy that allowed federal agents to quickly deport migrants attempting to enter the country citing COVID-19 restrictions. Last week, the Republican leader called off the inspection initiative after signing agreements with leaders of four Mexican states that border Texas who said they would increase border security measures. 

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Despite the economic impacts of shutting down traffic at the border, Abbott isn’t ruling out reinstating the policy. Asked about the impacts during a roundtable with law enforcement in San Antonio Thursday, Abbott responded, “Obviously there are concerns about the economy but there are even larger concerns about the unabated immigration that the Biden administration is promoting.”

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