Migrant deaths in San Antonio must shake this nation’s conscience – Greeley Tribune


We cannot understand the agony that afflicted more than 50 migrants who were trapped in an overheated semi-truck in Texas and left to die. Every detail that crops up in news reports only adds to the horror.

There was no evidence that migrants had been given water, and some of them were reportedly sprinkled with steak spice to mask their smell as smugglers transported them. Authorities said many migrants jumped to their deaths to escape the sweltering trailer.

The word ‘crisis’ is often used for political reasons, but if there’s one situation that ticks that box, this is it. We see a mass murder with patterns suggesting the work of an international smuggling or human trafficking operation that abandoned its cargo of Mexican and Central American citizens, including children, on an industrial highway in San Antonio.

What these smugglers or human traffickers allowed to happen to the migrants is unscrupulous. Our state and federal leaders, who rarely agree, should at the very least express the need to work together to find and prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law.

This could be the deadliest smuggling operation across the southern border in recent memory, but it’s not the first time something like this has happened. And we can expect more mass deaths if US authorities don’t make it difficult for smugglers to do business.

For that reason, we must ask of our leaders in Austin and Washington, DC, more than blame and distraction—a scoreboard.

A federal investigation must determine whether the semi-trailer truck passed US checkpoints en route to San Antonio and when the migrants got into the vehicle. Border police sometimes catch smugglers at these checkpoints, as the agency did in April when it tagged a trailer driver and spotted 48 profusely sweating migrants inside.

But smuggler networks have found solutions, and some are known to charge migrants north of checkpoints to avoid detection. How can federal agencies thwart more of these operations?

We also expect more productive leadership from Governor Greg Abbott. The governor has poured billions of dollars into his border security initiative, Operation Lone Star, and he needs to explain to taxpayers what this operation has done to combat and dismantle smuggling organizations.

If anything, these deaths need to shake up Congress given the urgency of sweeping immigration reform. Desperate people will continue to pay smugglers to cross into the United States, but our country can reduce that flow by making its immigration system more efficient and humane. Asylum seekers risk all sorts of conflicting guidelines at the border, while visa applicants, supported by employers or relatives, sometimes have to wait a decade or more for papers allowing them to stay here permanently.

Smugglers gamble with the lives of hopeless people in search of security and stability. We cannot allow these criminals to set the price for bringing the American Dream within reach.

– The Dallas Morning News editorial board via the Tribune Content Agency, June 30 Migrant deaths in San Antonio must shake this nation’s conscience – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

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