It didn’t take long for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat who represents parts of San Antonio, to blame the lack of immigration reform for the San Antonio incident.
As a supporter of a form of immigration reform, i.e. temporary work visas but no path to citizenship for some here without papers, I find Doggett’s remark predictable but silly.
First, Democrats had large majorities in the House and Senate and didn’t do anything about it. Can anyone remember 2009-11? I didn’t hear Representative Doggett blast President Obama for promising to deliver on the much-publicized immigration reform promise from the 2008 campaign.
Second, this is about human smuggling and further evidence that some kind of organized crime, not the old fashioned “coyotes,” are moving people.
A “coyote” is a guide who walks you across the border for a fee. Over the years, I’ve heard of good and bad coyotes, specifically referring to people who knew or didn’t know the routes to the U.S. They were generally opportunists out to make some money but rarely did we hear about violence or mistreatment of people. In other words, a “coyote”s” reputation was built on how well he did his job. This is how he’d get “referrals” for future business.
Lately, we hear about people being mistreated or forced to carry drugs to the U.S. This is an indication that someone has taken over the business from the “coyote.”
This is a story from the LA Times that persuades me that this was a well-planned operation rather than the aforementioned coyote who got you over the border:
Surveillance video from the store showed that, before police arrived on the scene, several vehicles approached the truck to pick up many of the truck’s survivors, he added.
Some of the trailer’s occupants escaped into the woods, and McManus said his officers would search the area Sunday on foot and by helicopter.
“This is not an isolated incident,” he said. “This happens quite frequently. Fortunately, we came across this one. Fortunately, you know, there are people who survived.”
In May 2003, 19 people died when they were abandoned in a trailer at a truck stop in Victoria, Texas. The truck driver, Tyrone Mapletoft Williams, was convicted and is serving a sentence of nearly 34 years.
Naturally, we will wait for more police reports before jumping to a conclusion. Nevertheless, I see the signs of an organized operation:
1) We’ve seen how criminal gangs bring people over and then demand more money from the families already here. They lock up people in a home and leave them until the family shows up with more cash;
2) It could be that the people in that truck were being punished for not carrying drugs over the border. In other words, this whole incident may be a signal that you will carry drugs or end up in a truck dead. Don’t underestimate the ruthlessness of these people!
Last, but not least, how does a truck full of people cross the border? Where did the driver pick up these people in Texas?
It is a messy and horrible story that highlights the perils of illegal immigration.
It would be better for people like Representative Doggett to remind people south of the border that it is safer to enter the country legally, as many have done. Unfortunately, asserting that this terrible incident is a consequence of no immigration reform will only bring more people anticipating to be legalized if they survive the desert, deadly snakes and even travelling in a hot truck in the Texas summer.
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