UPDATED 11:26 AM PT – Wednesday, June 29, 2022
President Joe Biden’s policies are under scrutiny after more than 51 migrants were found dead in San Antonio, Texas in an apparent human smuggling operation. As officials are investigating the cause of the deaths, which took place in a tractor-trailer, officials are certain about one thing: the administration’s border policies are not working.
After receiving reports of the incident, Texas Governor Greg Abbott lamented those deaths are on President Biden. He added, this event is a result of the President’s open border policies. Meanwhile, San Antonio’s Mayor Ron Nirenberg tried to be diplomatic with his comments on the incident, while stressing the tragedy of the situation.
“We have been working to, you know, assist migrants who are here seeking asylum as we have throughout the year, every year,” said the Mayor. “We know that there’s been increasing volumes over the last six months, 12 months related to the, you know, the policies…our focus right now is to try to bring aid to them as as best we can, but this is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy.”
On Monday, more than 40 migrants were found in or near an abandoned tractor trailer in what authorities hypothesize was a human smuggling operation. At the time, there were16 survivors who were taken to nearby hospitals. Some of them later died, in turn, bringing the death toll up to over 50.
Even Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Oberador gave his condolences to the victims, adding the US-Mexico border is a “disgrace” and is “out of control.” He confirmed 22 of the dead victims were Mexican citizens. Lopez Obrador went on to blame bad public policy and opportunistic human smugglers for the incident.
“These unfortunate events have to do with the situation of poverty and desperation of our Central American and Mexican brothers and sisters,” stated the Mexican President. “It happens because there is also human trafficking and lack of controls at the border between Mexico and the United States and inside the United States.”
Critics have lambasted Biden’s border policies since he took office. The administration has overseen the largest surge of border violations in more than 20-years by migrants coming in through the southern border. Policies scrutinized under the microscope include his attempted reversal of the Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ and Title 42 policies that sought to keep migrants out of the US for health reasons or while their immigration applications were being processed.
Biden also cut funding for border wall projects, prompting border states like Texas and Arizona to protect the federal border on their own and with only state resources. Additionally, as Biden looks to revoke Trump-era immigration policies, border agents fear an even bigger mass migration event may be on the horizon. Human rights officials also worry the failures at the southern border will only encourage more migrants to take the dangerous journey to the land of the free.
“(Migrants) pay $8,000-12,000, those who died were also paying, but they remain to pay for five, ten years,” explained Luis Garcia Villagran, migrant rights activist and director at Human Dignity Center. “That is the new slavery those politicians have invented.”
Meanwhile, President Biden commented and suggested criticizing him for his border policies is “grandstanding” and is tantamount to what the human smugglers are doing. He also stressed his proposed anti-smuggling campaign with what he called his “regional partners is already underway and working. Biden claimed more than 2,400 smugglers were arrested as a result.
The US President also expressed hope that his initiative will continue to bring smugglers to justice. However, his border czar, Kamala Harris, only offered thoughts to the victims and a promise to take action in a tweet.
The loss of life in San Antonio is horrifying. My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones. Our Administration will continue to fight to hold those trying to exploit vulnerable people for profit, including human smugglers and traffickers, accountable.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 28, 2022
In the meantime, Biden is set to meet with Mexican President Lopez Obrador in mid-July after being recently snubbed by the socialist leader at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California.