TEXAS, USA — Texas is implementing a new truck checkpoint strategy after dozens of migrants were found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday.
The new strategy, which begins immediately, calls for:
- Additional truck checkpoints
- Trained teams to detect cloned trucks along smuggling corridors
- New trooper strike teams to areas seeing record crossings
- More drones in the air
Texas DPS will also be making sure there is better capability of stopping smugglers and cartel members who are trying to profit off getting migrants to the United States, the governor said.
The death count continues to climb in the San Antonio tractor-trailer tragedy. On Wednesday, the death toll reached 53.
On Monday, San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said all the deaths stemmed from heat-related causes, including heat stroke and exhaustion. The tractor-trailer filled with 67 people had no visible working A/C unit and there was no water, he said during a press conference Monday.
Abbott said every year there are reports about migrants who lost their lives from the heat and many of these deaths could be prevented.
Abbott said the truck carrying the migrants passed through a border checkpoint and it was not inspected because the border patrol does not have the resources to inspect all of the trucks.
"The border patrol did not have the capability of saving those lives," Abbott said. "Mr. President, you can fix that if you provide what is categorized as the minimum number of border patrol officers who are needed to do the fundamental job of the United States of America and adequately fund their operations to make sure they are going to be able to inspect those vehicles.
The driver, identified by Mexican government officials as Homero Zamorano, was caught on camera crossing through a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in Encinal, Texas.
Mexican officials released a map of the truck's alleged route where it's believed the migrants were loaded into the truck on the U.S. side near Laredo before heading north. The truck also learned the Cotulla checkpoint before ending up in southwest San Antonio.
Zamorano was arrested in a nearby field pretending to be one of the injured migrants.