Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘No bandits, no crimes’ at new border checkpoint, says Nuevo León governor

A new international border checkpoint has opened between Nuevo León and Texas, which Nuevo León’s governor claims will be “the safest and fastest customs office in North America.”

Governor Samuel García was in Puerto Colombia over the weekend to inaugurate the new checkpoint at the Laredo–Colombia Solidarity International Bridge. The checkpoint was designed with advice from the United States Office of Customs and Border Protection and will be operated by the National Guard and Fuerza Civil, the state police of Nuevo León.

Samuel García and officials in front of the Puerto Colombia checkpoint
García’s promise to install a checkpoint Puerto Colombia caused Texas governor Greg Abbott to ease increased inspections on the Laredo–Colombia Solidarity International Bridge last April. (nl.gob.mx)

The checkpoint has five vehicle lanes – two for cars and another three for trucks – with a check booth for each lane. It also includes an office, two holding cells and an enclosure for sniffer dogs.

García stressed that the checkpoint will ensure that all traffic crossing from Mexico to the U.S. complies with the laws of both countries, in accordance with an agreement made last year with Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

“I want to send a greeting and endorse my commitment to the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, that we made a year and a half ago,” García said. “Today we are sending a very strong signal that there will be no crimes and no bandits here.”

In April 2022, the Mexico-Texas border was snarled for a week after Republican Governor Abbott ordered Texas state troopers to carry out additional inspections on every commercial truck crossing from Mexico. While the inspections caused hours-long delays and even sparked fears of food shortages in the U.S. state, the Texas Tribune reported that they found “zero drugs, weapons or any other type of contraband.”

Samuel García at a press conference
“We are going to triple exports. We are going to break employment records,” García said. “In just two years, we’ve quadrupled foreign investment.” (nl.gob.mx)

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller echoed that assessment at the time, telling NPR that “[Abbott’s] people have no authority to open the trucks” and could only look at basic vehicle safety. NPR estimated that Abbott’s order inflicted billions of dollars in U.S. trade losses

The gridlock only eased after Governor García agreed to install new checkpoints on the Mexican side of Nuevo León’s nine-mile border with Texas. The bridge is one of 28 crossings linking Texas with Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Chihuahua.

“If Nuevo León can assure security … and patrol the border to help Texas, and Texas can help us with more merchandise, with more commerce, we will do it,” García said at the time.

At the inauguration of the Puerto Colombia checkpoint, García stressed that the need for a safe and efficient customs office between Mexico and the U.S. is now greater than ever, as the nearshoring phenomenon sees ever more companies setting up plants in Mexico to be closer to U.S. markets.

“We committed to Governor Abbott to have this checkpoint, so that when we reach 10,000 daily crossings, which is going to be very soon, he will be assured that the 10,000 will be checked and monitored by dogs, cameras and X-rays and can enter [the U.S.],” García said.

Nuevo León is home to several major nearshoring projects, including a planned new Tesla gigafactory outside of Monterrey. Governor García has been a vocal advocate for his state as a site for nearshoring investment, predicting that the relocation of manufacturing could spur annual economic growth of up to 10% nationwide.

With reports from Milenio and El Economista

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