The discovery of
dozens of migrants in a dangerously overheated trailer in San Antonio this weekend has further inflamed the national debate over illegal immigration,
particularly sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with federal authorities.
In a Facebook post late Sunday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) appeared
to blame the tragedy on sanctuary policies like those adopted by San Antonio,
San Francisco, Chicago and other jurisdictions, which he said “entice”
people to illegally cross the border by creating the impression that local
authorities will shield them from deportation.
He praised a Texas law —
currently under court challenge — that would
impose harsh penalties on jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Immigrant rights groups, in contrast, pointed the finger at
increasingly harsh U.S. tacticstoward undocumented immigrants, which they said drive would-be migrants
to turn to unsafe methods to enter the United States.
They cited the Texas law, which will take effect Sept. 1 unless the lawsuit
against it is successful, as an example of that worsening treatment.
Authorities say the tractor-trailer found in the parking lot of a San Antonio
Walmart on Sunday was used to illegally transport more than 100 immigrants
from Mexico as part of a smuggling operation.
There was little ventilation and no cooling in the cargo bay, creating
punishing conditions as temperatures soared into the triple digits. Ten
of the truck’s occupants have died, and dozens of others remain
hospitalized, some in critical condition.
The incident comes at a time of
stepped-up immigration enforcement by the Trump administration, which has made it a priority to deport those
in the country illegally and pledged to dramatically increase border security.
In Texas, tensions also are rising over the anti-sanctuary-city law known
as S.B. 4. The measure requires local authorities to hold and turn over
undocumented immigrants who have been ordered detained by Immigration
and Customs Enforcement. It carries harsh penalties, including fines and
even jail time, for officials who refuse to comply.
Several cities and counties, including San Antonio,
have sued to block the measure, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution. Critics of the law say
cooperating closely with federal immigration authorities erodes public
trust and often forces them to keep people in jail beyond their sentences.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) suggested Sunday on Twitter that better border
security would have forestalled this weekend’s human-smuggling episode.
“Compassion is called for,” he wrote. “But lawlessness
ensures cartels will continue to profit from these tragedies. Status quo
is not compassionate.”
his Facebook statement, Patrick wrote, “Sanctuary cities entice people to believe they
can come to America and Texas and live outside the law. Sanctuary cities
also enable human smugglers and cartels. Today, these people paid a terrible
price and demonstrate why we need a secure border and legal immigration
reform so we can control who enters our country.”
The posting — which was shared more than 1,500 times — drew
immediate rebukes from immigrant rights advocates, who argued that the
anti-sanctuary-cities law would make such tragedies more common.
“We think that it is policies like S.B. 4 and the growing criminalization
of immigrants and the growing militarization of our border that . . .
pushes people into shadows, sometimes literally to the back of the truck
to hide from authorities,” said Amy Fischer, policy director for
the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
In 2003, 19 people died in the trailer of an 18-wheeler during a 120-mile
journey across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Two weeks ago, Houston police discovered 12 immigrants who had been locked
in a sweltering box truck for hours and were seeking help by banging on
the walls. And in May, border agents discovered 18 immigrants locked in
a refrigerated produce truck, the temperature set at 51 degrees.
At a vigil for the victims Sunday night, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.),
said U.S. lawmakers should bear some of the blame for this and other smuggling
“This represents a symptom of a broken immigration system that Congress,
of which I am a part, has had the chance to fix but has not,” Castro
said. “That’s a colossal failure that has a human cost.”
Rey Saldaña, the San Antonio City Council member who represents
the area where the truck was discovered, said it would be a mistake to
conclude that people are drawn to the United States because of sanctuary
policies. He said they come because of larger and more complex desires
for a better life — pressures that have existed for decades.
“I would lay a lot of this on people who have ignored a system that
has incentivized this one kind of entry,” Saldaña said. “And
so people turn to the danger of human smugglers.”
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/horrific-episode-of-human-smuggling-fuels-both-sides-of-immigration-debate/2017/07/24/58bbcc82-7098-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html?utm_term=.c1c5ef5bddf0
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration law firm
The Miami immigration attorneys at Revilla Law Firm, P.A., represent clients
in all areas of immigration law with a concentration in deportation defense
and family-based residency. Antonio G. Revilla III is a Former U.S. Immigration
Prosecutor and Miami immigration lawyer with 25 years of legal experience.
Mr. Revilla has helped thousands of immigrants remain in the United States
by applying his experience as a former prosecutor and his ability to navigate
the complex immigration system with an aggressive yet diplomatic approach
to representing his clients.
If you wish to have your immigration case evaluated, contact Revilla Law
Firm, P.A., today to schedule a free in-office consultation with Antonio
G. Revilla III.
Call: (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323
Telephone consultations are also available for a nominal fee.
"We will fight to keep you in the United States"