The foreign minister has accused the governor of Texas of extortion for his negotiation methods with Mexican governors, who wanted U.S. officials to lift stringent border checks on vehicles.
The inspection program on vehicles was introduced by Governor Greg Abbott at Texas’ almost 2,000-kilometer border with Mexico in early April, for authorities to conduct more thorough checks to detect drugs and migrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
All commercial vehicles crossing the border into Texas were checked, causing lines of 24-30 hours and generating losses in Tamaulipas of at least 1 billion pesos (US $50.1 million) in the space of a single week, according to an umbrella group of business organizations.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that Abbott had attempted blackmail the governors, instead of looking for compromise. “It’s extortion. Closing the border and forcing you to sign whatever I say. That’s not an agreement, an agreement is when you and I agree on something,” he said.
“The migration problem is not Mexico’s problem,” Ebrard added, before saying that resolving problems around migration depended on the decisions of U.S. officials.
The governor of Nuevo León, Samuel García, and the governors of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Chihuahua negotiated individually with Abbott to lift restrictions.
García promised to install migration checkpoints for vehicles before they reach the border and to activate patrols across 14 kilometers of the border. After the agreement was signed, traffic flow was revived between Nuevo León and Texas.
Ebrard said that he respected the governors’ decisions to cede to Abbott’s demands, but that he couldn’t take the same approach.
“I don’t judge. I think the governors have to do what they can. They had no alternative, but we are not going to allow a governor to extort Mexico, I will never allow that,” he said.
Ebrard added that Abbott’s behavior should be attributed in part to the his re-election campaign.
Two-way trade between Mexico and Texas was worth US $177.8 billion in 2020, according to the Foreign Ministry, with both sides benefiting almost equally from the cross-border exchange.
With reports from Milenio