Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday ordered new checkpoints for trucks entering the United States from Mexico. The new security measures come hours after fifty dead migrants were found inside the box of an abandoned trailer on the outskirts of San Antonio. The vehicle, authorities from both countries reported this Wednesday, passed through two checkpoints without anyone noticing its load: 67 people.
The head of the Department of Public Security of the State has said that these operations will be carried out along the corridors used by human trafficking mafias to connect cities on the border in Mexico with large cities in the State, such as San Antonio itself, or Houston, in East Texas. The exact location of these checkpoints has not been revealed by Steve McCraw, the Director of Public Safety, so as not to put criminals on notice.
The focus of the new initiative will be the trailers, like the one that stars in a new migrant tragedy in a year that is about to break all crossing records in history. In May, for example, more than 239,000 arrests by border authorities were documented. This is the highest number in 20 years.
A Texas trucking company has said the truck at the center of the drama had been cloned to appear to be part of the fleet, complete with company plates and identification. McCraw said that the police will ask to stop this type of transport, since some that seem legitimate are not.
Four arrested for human trafficking
Four people have so far been arrested in connection with Tuesday’s tragedy. The first two arrests occurred when police entered a San Antonio home Wednesday where the trailer was registered. They are two men of Mexican nationality in an irregular situation. Another of the detainees was captured in another city in East Texas.
The driver of the truck has also been arrested, who was located in the vicinity of the road where he abandoned the vehicle and, according to the authorities, tried to pass himself off as one of the migrants. The investigations have already revealed connections between the four detainees, accused of human trafficking.
The investigations also indicate that the truck suffered a breakdown and the driver decided to abandon it with the 67 people inside. Of the total deaths so far, 53, at least 27 are Mexicans, as announced by the consul in San Antonio, Rubén Minutti, at a press conference held this Wednesday.
The consul also announced that among the 14 survivors, who are being treated in hospitals in the area, two others are Mexican. Among the deceased, 14 are Hondurans, seven Guatemalans and two Salvadorans, according to preliminary figures. This is the event with the largest number of deceased migrants in US territory.
“We do not have a federal government that is fighting these cartels and their illegal activities,” Abbott said this morning from the city of Eagle Pass. The Republican governor has used the San Antonio tragedy to once again attack President Joe Biden’s immigration policy. The local president, who is seeking re-election to the position in the November elections, has said that his administration has been forced to act in the face of the “catastrophe” that is being experienced on the border between the United States and Mexico.
Abbott has already tried to act against international criminal organizations. In April he ordered, as part of his border security program, called Lone Star, several checkpoints at border checkpoints in the vast state he governs. The checks by state agents on cargo trucks that came from Mexico collapsed trade between two of the most important partners in North America. Delays in perishable products distribution services and in other supply chains generated losses of more than 4,000 million dollars, according to local economists quoted by The Dallas Morning News. Abbott put an end to the checkpoints when he extracted surveillance commitments from the governors of neighboring Mexican states.
A spokesman for the governor has ruled out The Texas Tribune that the new operations be carried out at border checkpoints, which indicates that the local Administration learned from the experience of April not to interfere in the migratory dynamics. Critics of that operation indicated that the new state police inspections duplicated work already being done by some federal forces that supposedly combat illegal immigration through customs.