The discovery of an 18 wheeler packed with nearly 100 illegal immigrants near Raymondville in South Texas this week has sparked fears by the Border Patrol of a hot summer of truck tragedies, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Acting Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost told News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that the trend of truckers participating in illegal immigration schemes is on the rise.
"Between Laredo sector and Rio Grande Valley sector just this year, we have seen approximately 100 different incidents of tractor trailer loads, and between them, appoximately 1400 rescues have been made."
The Border Patrol is used to rescuing illegal immigrants during the hot south Texas summer, but the fact that today they are being rescued from the back of sweltering trucks as opposed to ten years ago when individual immigrants were rescued while roaming aimlessly through the sometimes trackless South Texas scrubland speaks volumes about the changing face of illegal immigration as border security increases.
Experts say it is now impossible for anindividual illegal immigrant simply to swim or row an inflatable raft across the Rio Grande and set out toward Houston or San Antonio, which has been the pattern of illegal immigration for a century.
Today, to get into the U.S. an immigrant has to employ the services of a professional immigrant smuggler, who is affiliated with the Mexican crime cartels, to get the person into the U.S. away from increasingly restrictive border walls, fences, and a more than doubled Border Patrol force, not to mention sophisticated technology.
And Provost says the way the smugglers more and more are doing this is by using existing forms of transportation, from stack trains to cross the border, to trucks to transport the illegals inland
."The heat is here, this is our worst time of year when it comes to rescues, and, unfortunately deaths along the southwest border," she said.
Provost cited the incident last summer in San Antonio, where ten illegal immigrants died when they were packed into the back of an un-airconditioned trailer and driven to San Antonio from Laredo in the July heat.
The trucker in that case is now serving a life sentence. The trucker in the Raymondville incident was taken into custody.
But truckers are frequently found who will take up to $2,000 per person to ship human cargo on the drive they are going to make anyway, and increased drug crime in Mexico, brutal gang activity in Central America, government chaos in Venezuela, and brutal poverty and repression from Nigeria to Bangladesh make desperate people continue to do desperate things.