SAN ANTONIO — Beto O'Rourke gave a news conference Tuesday, where he responded to Governor Abbott's plan to send migrants to Washington, D.C. and increase truck inspections at the border.
The Democratic candidate for governor spoke from a facility in Pharr, Texas. He called on Abbott to stop his policy, saying it hurts the Texas economy, among other things.
On Wednesday, Abbott unveiled a plan that quickly made national news: Texas would place state troopers in riot gear to meet migrants at the border and bus them straight to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., where he said the Biden administration "will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border."
Later, after that news conference, the governor's office clarified that the program is completely voluntary for migrants and would happen only after they had been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security.
Governor Abbott also directed DPS to conduct enhanced safety inspections of vehicles as they cross international ports of entry into Texas as part of his response to the ending of Title 42.
O'Rourke said that policy was straining an already strained system.
"Greg Abbott is killing businesses and the Texas economy with the stunt he is pulling right now," O'Rourke said. "It does nothing to improve the security and safety of Texans, all it does it hurt the economy of Texas and the United States."
O'Rourke asked a business owner to share his struggles with importing produce, electronics and other goods.
"Normally, through this port when things were working the way they should, we were importing about a thousand loads of produce per day between all of us and about a thousand loads of electronics and auto manufacturing and other manufactured goods," said Joe Arevelo, a customs broker and owner of the cold storage facility where the news conference was held. "Well, that has recently stopped."
"We are living through a nightmare. We are already suffering through a supply chain from the pandemic and trying to regrow the business and [Governor] Abbott adds a policy that adds 45 minutes to the inspection process."
O'Rourke continues his tour of the border this week. Sunday, he was in Del Rio, Texas and Monday, he visited Laredo for the fifth time during his campaign for governor.
A statewide poll released Friday showed that Governor Abbott had a slight lead over Beto O'Rourke. The Lyceum poll showed Abbott led O'Rourke 42% to 40%, while seven percent said they would vote for someone else.