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Report: Gov. Abbott's enhanced border inspections cost Texas, U.S. billions

The Perryman Group analysis showed Texas also lost about $4.23 billion in gross domestic product.

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott's increased inspections at the Texas border cost the United States billions in gross domestic product, according to one analysis by The Perryman Group.

"For the entire period of the slowdown, losses rise to an estimated $8.967 billion in GDP and the equivalent of 77,019 job-years for the United States and $4.233 billion in gross product and 36,330 job-years of employment in Texas," the analysis stated. 

The analysis showed that the daily loss to U.S. GDP totaled $996.3 million, with Texas losing $470.3 million a day.

The Perryman Group has analyzed U.S./Mexico trade for years and used models and methods developed to estimate the economic cost of the recent delays. The analysis used data related to typical levels and types of trade, the percentage that flows through Texas border crossings, and the portion of trade that is by truck.

It was April 6 when Abbott announced several enhanced border security orders that included having Texas DPS troopers inspect incoming trucks at the border, a job usually done by the federal government. 

The bridge connecting Pharr and Reynosa is the busiest trade crossing in the Rio Grande Valley and handles the majority of the produce that crosses into the U.S. from Mexico, including avocados, broccoli, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes.  

Two days after the announcement, the Texas International Produce Association published a letter addressed the governor asking for a different plan. 

The letter cited commercial trucks waiting in a line that stretched miles while trying to cross the Pharr International Bridge, not moving for hours. 

The American Trucking Association called the inspections “wholly flawed, redundant and adding considerable weight on an already strained supply chain." 

Bret Erickson, with Little Bear Produce in the Rio Grande Valley, said the delays were lasting three to five days.

"These delays cost us a tremendous amount of money in terms of quality, in terms of planning, shifting our around to be able to adapt to what's happening," Erickson said.

He said this will likely result in a smaller selection and higher prices for produce. 

"Retailers are fighting for less supply, and they're paying more money," Erickson said. "That means that those costs are going to be passed along to consumers."

After a week of intensifying backlash and fears of deepening economic losses, Abbott repealed his traffic-clogging immigration order, but not causing some economic damage. 

You can read the analysis in full here. 


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