After nearly a dozen migrants died in a tractor-trailer abandoned near San Antonio, Texas is adding more checkpoints to check vehicles.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) made the new security measures public during a news conference this week. Earlier this week, authorities discovered 46 bodies inside the tractor-trailer, and the number of fatalities has since risen to 51. The discovery is considered to be the deadliest human trafficking incident in American history.
According to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will launch a checkpoint plan “immediately” where cops would start looking for trucks like the one that killed these people.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has not yet revealed the specific locations of where the new checkpoints will be established. Abbott said that he wants to “surprise the smugglers and cartels.” McCraw informed reporters that the new stations would be built along “smuggling corridors,” adding, “Frankly, we’re going to surprise them.”
According to McCraw, his department will relocate some police presence at ports near international borders “and farther out” in order to establish more inspection stations for commercial vehicles.
This week, three people were arrested in Texas in connection with the abandoned tractor-trailer. Some immigrants were discovered alive in the vehicle and were brought to a local hospital. Temperatures outside of the trailer reached as high as 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in San Antonio last week, and there was no air conditioning or water inside. The ages of the deceased ranged from teenagers to young adults, according to authorities.
“All appeared to be the apparent victims of human traffickers unconcerned with human life,” the Western District of Texas U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff announced in a statement earlier this week. “The searing heat of South Texas this time of year is overpowering, especially given today’s record highs.”
The discovery of the corpses sparked a feud between the Abbott administration and the federal government. The governor, a Republican, has been a harsh opponent of President Joe Biden’s border policies in recent months, ordering the DPS to transport immigrants to Washington, D.C., as a form of protest.
“These fatalities are on Mr. Biden,” Abbott wrote in a tweet earlier this week. “The result of his lax border policies. They illustrate the deadly consequences of Biden refusing to enforce the law.”
The governor’s tweet was met with a response from the vice president, Kamala Harris.
“When there are 50 dead bodies in his state, the governor of that state responds by going to politics rather than addressing the facts of the problem,” Harris said to NPR.