San Antonio Deaths: Blame those Who Encourage Illegal Migration, Not Trump or the Border Patrol

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.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    The left never finds individuals responsible for their own irresponsible actions, such as coming here illegally in a truck. Always someone else’s fault.

  2. Pingback: But He’s Still In the Country Illegally! |

  3. avatar

    Sanctuary Cities are nothing more than holding pens for prey for Illegal Alien Criminals. Never mentioned is the existence of the U Visa which protects Illegal Aliens who report or are a victim of crime. I wonder why?
    U.S.Sanctuary Bills in Maryland Faced a Surprise Foe: Legal Immigrants

    “The failure of the sanctuary bills in Maryland reveals a potentially troublesome fissure for Democrats as they rush to defy Mr. Trump. Their party has staked out an activist position built around protecting undocumented immigrants. But it is one that has alienated many who might have been expected to support it.”

    Obama administration has admitted that Sanctuary Cities are a problem:

    But, within the above letter, doesn’t really address what the Obama administration will actually do about it to protect US Citizens:

    IGS poll: Californians oppose sanctuary city policies

    “Californians strongly oppose “sanctuary city” policies under which local authorities ignore federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested but are about to be released, according to a new poll released today by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley.”

    • avatar

      I live in California and have for most of my life .This State has been turned into a Lawless Sewer ! I’m a part Mexican race doesn’t matter we need All Illegal Aliens deported and criminalized naturalized foreigners as well ! we need all Departments of Gov dealing with Immigration Shut Down and Reviewed. Are we supposed to trust Anything Coming out of Washington DC ??? The answer is NO !!! They r trying to Destroy Sherriff Arapaio for Enforcing THE LAW !!! As We Speak ! Attorney General Jeff Sessions need to shut this treasonous case against The Sherriff Down Now ! Or get Fired Immediately .President Trump needs to address this NOW TODAY ,period this is too dangerous to ignore what is the public and law enforcement supposed to think if The Sherriff is put in jail as a political Prisoner by A Communist Judge ??? This is a QUESTION !