Recently, 10 illegal aliens died in the parking lot of a San Antonio Walmart when smugglers left them locked in a sweltering, poorly ventilated truck. The mainstream media immediately linked the deaths to President Trump’s “crackdown” on illegal immigration. One immigration activist blamed the deaths on immigration enforcement saying, “These tragedies are compounded when it’s incredibly dangerous and incredibly expensive and we push migration into the hands of illicit actors.”
Advocates for open borders tend to see these types of catastrophes in stark cause-and-effect terms: if the aliens didn’t have to sneak into the United States, they wouldn’t have died. However, that’s kind of like blaming poverty on the fact that bank robbery is difficult and dangerous. We put laws in place to deter undesirable behavior. And generally speaking, it’s bad policy to repeal laws because they inconvenience those who would violate them.
The “blame Trump” approach fails to acknowledge that the deceased were not victims of callous government policies. While these deaths were both horrifying and tragic, it must not be forgotten that the illegal aliens in that tractor-trailer were active participants in a conspiracy to violate U.S. immigration law. They died at the hands of a heartless villain acting in his own self-interest. Criminal alien smugglers have no regard for the life and safety of the people who illegally purchase their services. (Meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection rescues approximately 1,000 illegal aliens from life threatening situations, each year. And CBP personnel often effectuate these rescues at great personal risk.)
In point of fact, these deaths cannot even be said to be an indirect result of aggressive immigration enforcement. They were, however, a direct result of laxity. Had the Border Patrol been carrying out aggressive patrols in San Antonio, with the assistance of local law enforcement, the poor souls packed like cattle into a tractor trailer might have been rescued before anyone was injured. But, by failing to secure our borders and refusing to take immigration enforcement seriously, we have convinced would-be illegal aliens, and alien smugglers, that the risks that attach to crossing the border illegally are outweighed by the potential rewards.
Responsibility for that message lays squarely at the feet of the open borders lobby. In order to achieve de facto open borders without the support of American voters, they attack every legitimate attempt to restore the rule of law to immigration. This has led to a state of lawlessness at our borders. Unfortunately, the negative effects of that lawlessness manifested themselves in an egregious loss of life in a Walmart parking lot on a scorching hot day in San Antonio. If we are searching for someone to blame, look no further than to those who encourage and incentivize illegal migration into the United States.