Texas Governor Abbott Ends Trade Disruption on Brownsville Bridge

After Mexican state authorities agree to aggressive enforcement against migrants in Matamoros

By Todd Bensman on May 8, 2023

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended aggressive truck safety inspections at the Veterans International Bridge after receiving commitments from Tamaulipas Gov. Américo Villarreal Anaya that, in exchange, Mexican state police would begin breaking up immigrant groups and stop them from crossing into Texas, two state officials confirmed.

The agreement between the two governors after five days of five-mile long truck lines in Matamoros underscores the potential ability of Gov. Abbott to force his Mexican counterparts to act against immigration more broadly. The Veterans International Bridge connects the Mexican city of Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas, which has been the scene in recent weeks of massive crowds of immigrants crossing and turning themselves in. 

State officials told the Center for Immigration Studies that the Tamaulipas state police had gone from "zero cooperation" to aggressive enforcement operations all along the Mexican side of the Rio Grande on Monday morning. The truck inspections tactic was first tried about one year ago, and forced four Mexican governors to sign unprecedented security agreements with Abbott. At the time, Abbott let the governors know that he could disrupt crucial export activity at any time again should he decide that they were doing too little. 

In December 2022, Abbott ordered the trade-slowing inspections at the busy Juarez-El Paso international bridge. It remained unclear Monday what the state of Tamaulipas plans for when Title 42 ends at midnight May 11-12. 

Additionally, the state of Texas has strung triple-deck razor wire all across federal lands along the river crossings that immigrants were using to cross from Matamoros without approval from the U.S. federal government. The razor wire appears to have proven somewhat effective against pedestrian traffic, although the immigrants have thrown blankets over it. A state official said that Texas would continually string new wire throughout the area after Title 42 ends.