On July 23, 2017 police officers in San Antonio, Texas made the gruesome discovery of the bodies of eight illegal aliens who had succumbed to the extreme heat in a tractor-trailer in which they were being transported, along with dozens of others who were rushed to the hospital where two more died.
My 30 year career with the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) included an assignment to the Anti-Smuggling Unit (ASU) at the New York City District Office of the INS where I found that the alien smugglers / human traffickers we investigated and arrested were among the most pernicious and violent criminals I encountered during my career.
The U.S./Mexican border is notoriously dangerous. Several years ago, during the Obama administration, I was interviewed for a documentary that is well worth watching, The Border States of America: Every State Is Now A Border State.
Most of the filming was done along the U.S./Mexican border and includes interviews with ranchers and law enforcement officers who live and work along that border, providing insight and a perspective on the scope and violence of human trafficking that is seldom, if ever, reported upon by the mainstream media.
On July 24, 2017 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement posted a news release, Federal alien-smuggling charge filed in San Antonio against driver of tractor-trailer when 10 died after smuggling trip that reported on this story and the fact that the driver of the vehicle, James Matthew Bradley Jr., is being charged in a federal complaint filed on July 24 alleging that he had unlawfully transported illegal aliens resulting in the death of 10 of those aliens. The press release noted that if convicted, Bradley would face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death, and a $250,000 fine.
To deter alien smuggling and related crimes, laws passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by past presidents certainly provide for some of the toughest penalties possible, yet today securing our borders against illegal entry, to combat alien smuggling and human trafficking, has for some, become extremely controversial.
This is only one of many of the incomprehensible inconsistencies where immigration is concerned, whether we consider how the media covers immigration or how some politicians, on all levels of government, view immigration law enforcement.
Transporting illegal aliens is an element of the smuggling statute: Title 8, United States Code §1324 because once across the border, these un-inspected illegal aliens need to travel from the borders to the interior of the United States, a need often fulfilled by the smugglers who facilitated their entry, once they are paid their exorbitant fees that virtually amount to ransom.
This can simply involve driving illegal aliens to airports and bus terminals or can involve transporting them in all sorts of motor vehicles including mobile homes and tractor-trailers.
The ICE press release also reported that the trailer had been packed with more than 100 illegal aliens who had been smuggled into the United States, held in a “stash house” and were being transported in the un-refrigerated trailer. The aliens had no water and took turns breathing through a couple of holes in the side of the trailer.
Every day aliens from countries around the world are smuggled into the United States entering the United States without inspection, thereby evading the inspections process conducted at America’s 325 ports of entry located along America’s land borders, seaports and international airports that are operated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that is supposed to prevent the entry of criminals and terrorists and aliens who have been previously deported.
The categories of aliens to be excluded from the United States are enumerated in Title 8, United States Code § 1182.
Their entry and presence in the United States is unknown to our government.
There is no way of knowing who these aliens are or when, why or how they entered the United States in the first place. This poses a severe threat to national security and public safety.
Desperate people will resort to desperate tactics such as evidenced by those aliens who voluntarily climbed into the back of a sweltering crowded trailer.
The aliens who hire alien smugglers are desperate. Many are simply seeking illegal employment while others may be fugitives from justice seeking to evade law enforcement in other countries.
Aliens who have been previously deported from the United States and had committed serious crimes know that they cannot legally return to the United States may also seek the “services” of smugglers.
Some aliens may be terrorists or criminals seeking to set up shop in the United States. Consider the emergence of violent transnational gangs such as MS-13 that have spread throughout the United States posing a threat to children in schools where they frequently attempt to recruit new members.
Often alien smugglers also smuggle narcotics and other contraband. Indeed, today smuggling operations, along many parts of the border are controlled by members of the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO’s) and ruthless gangs. Consequently it is not unusual for the smugglers to require the aliens they smuggle to carry narcotics on their bodies as a part of their payment for the “services” provided by the smugglers. Such aliens are referred to as “mules” because they are literally treated as “beasts of burden.”
It is not uncommon for aliens to be beaten and robbed of their possessions and for the female aliens to also be raped by the smugglers. In fact, often women who plan to enter the United States with the assistance of smugglers begin taking birth control pills months before they head for the U.S. / Mexican border in anticipation of the likelihood that they may be raped by the smugglers.
When aliens become ill along the way they are often left behind in the desert. Many die if they are not discovered and rescued by civilians along the border or by law enforcement officers including Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) Units that patrol the border.
However, it takes a tragedy that, such as this most recent one, to attract the attention of the news media that often ignores the true magnitude of the immigration crisis.
However, not only does the media decide whether or not to report on these crimes, but often uses language that advances an open-borders agenda that profoundly impacts how Americans have come to think about immigration.
The term “Alien” has been expunged from the discussion, thereby obfuscating the truth and making the honest and accurate understanding of the issues impossible.
For the most part, reporters label anyone who insists on securing America’s borders against illegal (un-inspected) entry as being “Anti-Immigrant” while those who oppose this threat to national security and public safety are lauded as being “Pro-Immigrant” twisting the truth, thereby turning heroes into villains and villains into heroes.
There is nothing “Pro-Immigrant” about facilitating the entry of aliens who are exploited by smugglers and unscrupulous employers and nothing “Anti-Immigrant” about demanding that our immigration laws and our borders be imbued with true integrity.
The huge number of such aliens who enter the U.S. every day creates a wide variety of problems for cities across America, overwhelming the infrastructure of those cities including law enforcement, schools, hospitals, mass transit, and water supplies and posing a threat to public health.
Many illegal aliens seek various benefits under costly economic “safety net” programs.
Effective enforcement of the immigration laws would deter aliens from seeking to enter the United States illegally as great expense and at great personal risk, in the first place. This is commonsense.
Yet hundreds of U.S. cities have been declared “Sanctuaries” for illegal aliens. As I have noted in previous articles, mayors of “Sanctuary Cities” and governors of “Sanctuary States” are the human traffickers best friends.
Sanctuary Cities undermine the efforts of the U.S. Border Patrol and ICE, creating a huge incentives for aspiring illegal aliens, inducing them to seek out these human traffickers, knowing that they will be shielded from detection by ICE agents once they get past the border.
Shielding illegal aliens from detection by ICE is a felony.
ICE agents need the information that these illegal aliens can provide to arrest the smugglers and dismantle their operations.
Therefore shielding illegal aliens from ICE also shields smugglers and exploitive employers from detection.
Indeed, illegal aliens are not only exploited by the smugglers, they are also exploited by their employers, some of whom work collaboratively with the smugglers. In these cases the aliens become virtual indentured servants, never earning enough money to fully pay off the smugglers trapping them in a vicious cycle similar to the tactics of “loan sharks.”
In some instances young women are forced into a life of prostitution working in brothels.
Furthermore illegal alien workers who are willing to work for substandard wages under substandard, indeed illegally dangerous conditions, not only displace lawful immigrant and American workers but ultimately create downward pressure on wages of all workers who are similarly employed.
Flooding America with Third World workers who bring with them Third World expectations of wages and working conditions is turning America into a Third World country.
Now that is a story worth reporting on, but one that is not likely to appear on the evening news tonight, or any other night.
RELATED VIDEO: Suzanne Shattuck speaks on Refugee Resettlement.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.