By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo León signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday expressing their shared commitment to increase security along their shared border.
Gov. Abbott and Gov. Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda signed the agreement at a news conference in Laredo, Texas. They reached the agreement after Gov. Abbott expanded border security measures through Operation Lone Star, directing Texas Department of Public Safety officers to perform enhanced security checks of commercial trucks at ports of entry. This led to protests and major jams, halting international commerce at at least three major ports of entry on Monday and Tuesday.
Despite the criticism he’s received, Gov. Abbott said his plan is working. Within days of implementing it, Gov. Garcia Sepúlveda called him to say he wanted to help Texas secure the border.
“Texas has been overrun by a record number of illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico into Texas with the assistance of cartels,” Gov. Abbott said. “Gov. Garcia and I reached an agreement today that addresses all of these issues.”
Gov. García Sepúlveda began implementing security measures on the Rio Grande River and at ports of entry in Nuevo León on Tuesday, he said.
Nuevo León, located in the northeast region of Mexico, shares a 14-kilometer border with Texas. The Laredo-Columbia Solidarity International Bridge, which saw backlogs as a result of Gov. Abbott’s new policy, connects Laredo, Texas, to Colombia in Anáhuac, Nuevo León.
Gov. García Sepúlveda said his alliance with Texas was “very important.”
“I’m happy to make history because two states are making a memorandum of understanding that we have to help both sides to have a secure border. I wish my neighbors would join us in the memorandum of understanding,” he added.
Gov. Abbott said the clogged bridges at the Texas-Mexico border will end when he reaches agreements with other Mexican governors or when President Joe Biden secures the border.
“Clogged bridges can end only through the type of collaboration that we are demonstrating today between Texas and Nuevo León,” he said.
“The ultimate way to end the clog at the border,” Gov. Abbott said, is for Biden “to do his job and secure the border.”
He said he understands some Texans’ frustration over the backlogs at the ports of entry, but he also understands the frustration expressed by Texans overrun by illegal immigration.
He said to Texans, “If you want relief from the clogged border, you need to call President Biden and tell him to maintain the Title 42 expulsion policy that has been in place for years. You need to tell President Biden to aggressively enforce the Remain in Mexico policy.
“You need to call your member of Congress and insist that they hold the Biden administration accountable. And you need to demand that President Biden enforce the immigration laws that have already been passed by the United States Congress.”
Gov. Abbott also announced that crossing the Laredo-Columbia Bridge “will return to normal effective immediately” and remain that way “as long as Nuevo León executes this historic agreement.
“Since Nuevo León has increased security on its side of the border,” Gov. Abbott said, Texas DPS was returning to its previous policy of randomly stopping vehicles crossing the bridge into Texas instead of performing enhanced checks.
In the one week that they’ve performed them, he noted, roughly 25% of inspected trucks were found to be unsafe for Texas roads and removed from service.
Gov. Abbott said he and the Texas Secretary of State’s Office have been contacted by all Mexican governors of states connected to Texas by a bridge, including Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas. He said he was also contacted by the chief officer of the North American unit of the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He said he looks forward to working with them to achieve a similar agreement he’s reached with Gov. Garcia Sepúlveda, but until then, Texas DPS will continue to conduct enhanced security checks.
There are “very real and deadly consequences … of Biden’s refusal to secure the border,” he reiterated.
Through OLS, Texas law enforcement officers have apprehended known convicted murderers, previously convicted child rapists, kidnappers, drug traffickers, MS-13 gang members and cartel members who’ve entered Texas illegally from Mexico, and seized enough fentanyl “to kill every man, woman, and child in the U.S.,” Gov. Abbott said.
“Texas is apprehending people crossing our borders illegally from countries like China, Iran, Russia, Iraq and more than 150 countries,” he added. “It’s time for the Biden administration to stop it.
“Until he does, Texas will continue to use its own strategies and work with Mexico to secure the border.”