Texas State Police to Begin Border Checks After Migrant Tragedy

Gov. Greg Abbott speak at a past press conference. (Eric Thayer/Bloomberg News)

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said state police will begin inspecting vehicles crossing the border from Mexico in response to the deadly migrant tragedy that killed 53 people this week.

The checks will target tractor-trailers “like the one that was used where these people perished,” Abbott said during a media briefing in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, on June 29. “We want to step up and make sure that we will do more to better secure this area.”

Dozens of men, women and children perished inside a truck in San Antonio earlier this week during searing temperatures. U.S. authorities launched a human smuggling investigation and the Mexican government said more than half of those who died were its nationals. The truck crossed the border without being inspected by U.S. agents, Abbott said.

The grim discovery of the truck stacked with corpses on June 27 triggered a fierce debate over immigration and border security policies, and has become a flashpoint in state and national politics. Abbott’s inspection plan comes little more than two months after a prior such program was suspended after Mexican state governors promised to enhance vehicle checks on their side of the border. During that dispute, some truckers reported waiting more than 30 hours to cross the border and one economist estimated that the delays cost Texas more than $4.2 billion in goods and services.

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