June 29, 2022



Texas lost $477 million due to Abbott border inspections, economist estimates

3 min read

Gov. Greg Abbott may have ended additional inspections of commercial trucks entering Texas from Mexico, but experts say the week-long border security policy still resulted in huge economic losses for the state. Abbott ordered the “enhanced safety inspections” in protest 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.

The heightened vehicle checks, which Abbott claimed would help combat smuggling, led to extended wait times at the border and delayed shipments of products ranging from avocados to auto parts. Economist Ray Perryman, president and CEO of the Waco-based Perryman Group, told the Dallas Morning News that Texas lost an estimated $477 million per day as a result of the enhanced border security checks, citing preliminary data he plans to issue in a new study.

“Our economies are so interdependent that a policy like this makes us more inefficient and forces us to lose some of the benefits of cross border trade,” Perryman told the Dallas Morning News. “So my message to Governor Abbott is we need to do everything we can to encourage the smooth flow of goods and services across the border rather than something else.”

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, told CNN that losses to fruit and vegetable producers as a result of the brief policy are estimated to be more than $240 million and that consumers could expect to spend more to make up for the losses. “It’s a bad time to be adding this to consumers’ pockets to pay out their pocketbook,” Jungmeyer said. 

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Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association, told CNN that about $9 billion worth of free produce crosses from Mexico into the Lone Star State each year. Galeazzi said that for the past week, businesses and goods were “being used as bargaining chips” and that it could take “a week or longer, up to probably three weeks, before the supply chain realigns.”

Galeazzi predicted that the policy would leave some store shelves in the fruit and vegetable departments empty starting this past weekend. Brent Erenwert, CEO of Brothers Produce, told KHOU 11 that Houstonians would also start to see higher prices at the store soon. 

Mexico reportedly lost $100 million due to the disrupt in trade, according to José Díaz Briseño, a Washington correspondent for Mexican newspaper Reforma. Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the inspections and accused Abbott of using the policy to gain support from voters. “Legally they can do it, but it’s a very despicable way to act,” Lopez Obrador said at a Monday news conference, according to Reuters. 

After striking deals with leaders of four Mexican states that border Texas, Abbott announced Friday that the additional inspections would be suspended for the time being, but threatened to close bridges if trafficking spikes across the border.

“As we are speaking this moment, all these bridges are opened back up to normal trafficking,” Abbott said during a news conference. “And so, all the goods that used to go from one country to the other at a very rapid pace, they are moving at that rapid pace as we speak right now.” 

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