AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott’s new border security directive to inspect more vehicles will have an impact across the state.
Some Texans could feel it soon because of added strain on a supply chain experts said is still recovering from the pandemic.
This is a direct response here in Texas, after the Biden administration said it plans on ending Title 42.
Inside of Sazón, a Mexican restaurant in Central Texas, some essentials for the business like limes, avocados and tequila come from Mexico.
“As a small business owner, one of the things we’d like to do is stock up,” said Margarito Arnada, Sazón’s general manager.
Arnada said that’s not always possible. He said his restaurant is still somewhat feeling the impact of shortages on these goods caused by the pandemic. Now he wonders if they’ll have to make adjustments again after Abbot’s new directive.
“A zero tolerance policy for unsafe vehicles for smuggling migrants across the border is being implemented immediately,” Abbott said at a press conference Wednesday. “This is going to dramatically slow traffic from Mexico and to Texas.”
Increasing vehicle inspections is just one step Abbott said the state will be taking in response to the Biden administration ending Title 42.
“With all the supply chain challenges that companies are facing right now, there will be an effect,” Texas Tech Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management Daniel Taylor said.
Taylor said the stalled traffic at the border will likely impact produce supply the most.
“Those would be the first ones to be noticed, right, that they go pretty well directly from the border to the grocery stores, you know, through their distribution networks. Those effects can be felt as in, as soon as a week,” Taylor said.
Mexico is Texas’ biggest trading partner, so Arnada prepares himself for what could affect his business.
“The price goes up, and the quantity goes down,” Arnada said. “But you know, it’s stuff we need.”
In 2019, pre-pandemic trade between Texas and Mexico accounted for more than $212 billion. Total U.S. ports of entry in Texas processed more than $440 billion of trade for the nation from Mexico.
To give you an idea of what this means, Mexico is the top trade partner for both Texas and the U.S. Seventy percent, or the vast majority, was truck traffic. Another 17% crossed by rail from Mexico.