With national pressure bearing down, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) lurched on Friday towards finding a way to declare victory on his latest border stunt.
Abbott inked deals with the governors of two Mexican states that border Texas. As part of the deals, Abbott agreed to drop a policy he instituted last week which added extra, state-level “safety inspections” to cargo entering the state via the U.S.-Mexico border.
The policy has led to massive traffic jams at border crossings, with Mexican truck drivers saying that it was taking up to 30 hours to make it through the Texas checkpoints.
The effects have rippled nationally, with prices on certain perishable foods going up amid already high inflation.
Abbott has framed the crisis that he created as the state picking up the slack from the Biden administration’s supposedly lackluster enforcement of the border. The state police checks that Abbott imposed come directly after those that are already conducted by federal Customs and Border Protection.
In response, three Mexican governors have now signed deals in which Abbott relaxed restrictions for crossings that originate in the Mexican states.
The states of Chihuahua and Coahuila became the latest to do so on Thursday, joining Nuevo León, which signed a similar deal Wednesday.
It’s not clear that any state has to do anything substantial as part of its deal, other than send officials to Austin for a signing ceremony with Abbott.
The Texas Tribune reported that, per the Chihuahua agreement, the state’s governor “will continue to implement security measures that [Governor Maria Eugenia] Campos Galván started when she came into office in 2021.”
At a press conference with Campos Galván, the newspaper reported, Abbott heralded the deal as “the best border security plan that I’ve seen from any governor from Mexico.”
Though the deals largely seem to be empty rhetoric, they do represent a state governor arrogating federal power — in this case, foreign policy — to himself.
Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, laid out the plan in clear terms on Fox News on Friday.
“The governor has figured out we can stop trade along the border, slow it down, and it will create pressure on Mexico and some of their governors to work out a deal to help us with border security,” he said.