On Monday evening, more than 40 migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer near Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Sixteen others were taken to the hospital, where several died. By Tuesday afternoon, the death toll had risen to 51.
The gruesome discovery is being called the deadliest human smuggling case in modern history.
Gov. Greg Abbott was quick to respond, criticizing President Joe Biden and his lax immigration policies for the mass death.
“These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies.” Abbott said in a tweet. “They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”
At Least 42 People Found Dead Inside Truck Carrying Migrants In Texas.
These deaths are on Biden.
They are a result of his deadly open border policies.
They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law. https://t.co/8KG3iAwlEk
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 28, 2022
Since Biden first assumed the presidency last year, his administration has taken steps to reverse Trump-era policies that would help deter illegal immigration.
This included terminating construction on the southern border wall and ending the “remain-in-Mexico” policy, which required would-be asylum-seekers to apply for asylum in Mexico rather than the United States.
These changes have led to record-breaking surges of illegal immigration on the southern border, with Border Patrol encountering 239,416 illegal aliens in May (a 2 percent increase from April).
Attorney General Ken Paxton commented on the dangerous implications of migrants making the journey with cartels.
“The loss of life in San Antonio is deeply tragic and I’m praying for the victims. We must address the implications of policies that reward the dangerous cartels that prey on these men and women. There is nothing ‘humane’ about incentivizing human smuggling.”
The loss of life in San Antonio is deeply tragic and I’m praying for the victims. We must address the implications of policies that reward the dangerous Cartels that prey on these men and women. There is nothing "humane" about incentivizing human smuggling. https://t.co/kNU25tzspb
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) June 28, 2022
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also took to Twitter to share his opinion of Democrats’ response to the border crisis.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 28, 2022
According to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations’ Minority Report, more and more individuals trying to enter the United States are turning to smugglers.
[Transnational criminal organizations] and other criminal elements actively participate in, benefit from, and perpetuate the illegal migration trade at the heart of this crisis. … Individuals are increasingly turning to illegal and criminal means, with more than 55% of those traveling illegally using a smuggler.
This isn’t the first time a group of undocumented migrants has been found in a tractor-trailer. In 2003, 19 illegal migrants were found dead in a trailer in Victoria, Texas. In 2017, police found 39 migrants in a hot tractor-trailer in San Antonio, where 10 had died as a result of the heat.
The Republican Party of Texas recently made protecting the border a legislative priority ahead of next year’s legislative session, calling for meaningful state action in the federal government’s absence.