When do human rights violations take precedence over human law? The illegal immigration problem that keeps getting handed down to the next administration only seems to intensify. But is the blame necessarily one that should be cast on those crossing our border? Or is it our fault, because we just do not enforce our laws to make it difficult for them to do so?
Yesterday, a truck crammed full of people was discovered after it crossed over the border near San Antonio, Texas. The driver of the tractor-trailer, James Matthew Bradley of Clearwater, Florida, has been charged. He was driving a trailer loaded with illegal immigrants for “commercial advantage or private financial gain.” – In other words, human trafficking. He could be sentenced to the death penalty if found guilty.
The container mostly held women under the age of 30, and some children. They were forced to take the trip against their wills or lied to with promise of a new life in the United States. The cargo portion of the hauler had an internal temperature of over 100 degrees, and there was no water. So far, 10 are dead and approximately 30 are either seriously or critically ill. The death toll is expected to rise.
The hauler had been spotted by an employee of a Walmart store. One of the people in the truck approached him and asked for water. The employee sensed something was suspicious, so he got the person some water and contacted the police.
“Fortunately, we came across this one and fortunately there are people who survived but this happens all the time,” …”You can see that it happens late at night under darkness because they don’t want to be discovered”, stated San Antionio police chief, William McManus.
The Trump administration has been silent on this tragedy. Federal members of Congress whose territory that this happened in have not yet spoken about it either. Yet, in the state of Texas itself, there has been an outcry among both government officials and the private sector that this horror could have been prevented. Law enforcement in San Antonio has been working in conjunction with federal investigators on every aspect of the tragedy.
Sure, people will continue to try and illegally enter the country, but this was not a typical crossing. This was human trafficking. There will be a federal investigation opened regarding where these people were supposed to end up, who arranged it, and what the connections were on the U. S. side of the border. But could it have been prevented?
When President Obama was in office, he cut short the military service of over 40,000 troops, saying that they were not needed because of withdrawal from Iraq and other areas in the Mideast. But there surely was a need here. These service people could have been utilized for border patrol. Veterans also, looking for purpose in their lives, as well as a paycheck, could have been put to work patrolling the border. It’s a very long border and a living guard could be more cost efficient and effective than a wall, which would have to be maintained, could be tunneled under, and would need a work-around over terrain and the Rio Grande which could not support such a structure.
On the other side of the equation, the United States has not made attaining citizenship any easier for those who seek to patriate in our country. The red tape and bureaucracy is incredibly difficult. Without a good immigration attorney, an applicant could effectively be waiting for years to become a citizen, if at all, while others simply illegally enter and get amnesty.
The system is not improving.
It is being ignored by the federal government, while states like Texas work hard to reform its own border safety. Texas receives no real answers from the federal government, which often impedes the progress being made for a safe and effective border patrol.
It has taken two years since Kate Steinle was murdered by a Mexican in San Francisco who entered the country illegally three times, twice after being sent back to Mexico, to pass Kate’s law through the House in Congress. The slowly grinding wheels have yet to get the bill to the Senate and finally passed, so that Sanctuary Cities can be defunded if they hide illegal criminals within their confines. The problem is this: It has been illegal to do so all along. So to pass this law is only repeating legislation already on the books but not enforced.
Illegal Immigration was a top concern for voters in the election, but it has been set on the back burner.
People will continue to die because existing law is not being enforced. Innocent people. The federal government seems to want to battle against its own states to keep the borders open and allow criminals refuge. No wall, no stronger patrol, and no consequences for those who cross that are worse than in years past. Some say they fear Trump and won’t come here. But over all, the crossings and crimes continue daily, while in the meantime, the price being paid is innocent human lives.
It certainly would have been the decent thing to do for the Trump administration or a Texas representative to at least pay tribute to these unwilling victims who needlessly died. It was a crime that could have been averted with the enforcement of our laws. The driver complicit in the trafficking could have been caught, or maybe discouraged from even committing the crimes if our border had people patrolling it and imposing direct and harsh consequences to anyone breaking the law. But all we have heard from DC is silence.
Janice Barlow is an author of true crime books, and a new book about her greyhound, Daisy. All are on Amazon.