Monday, July 24, 2017
CNN reports on a horrible human trafficking tragedy in Texas that made national news over the weekend. A truck driver transporting undocumented migrants will face charges.
For clarification the number of persons recovered from the trailer was 39, not the 38 reported earlier. The 39th person had been in the trailer but authorities found him this morning in a wooded area nearby. The number of individuals who have died has risen to nine. All of the deceased are adult males. Thirty others are being treated at area hospitals. At this time, investigators are making efforts to identify the victims and will seek to notify family and next of kin. Officials will not release the identities or alienage of victims until relatives can be notified.
A subject identified as James Mathew Bradley, Jr., age 60, from Clearwater, Florida, is being held in federal custody in connection with this incident. A criminal complaint will be filed in federal court in San Antonio on Monday morning. It is anticipated that Bradley will have an initial appearance shortly after that time.
The Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations together with Immigration Customs Enforcement -- Enforcement and Removal Office, the San Antonio Police Department, the San Antonio Fire Department, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the Border Patrol, U. S. Attorney’s Office, and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, are continuing the investigation.
Anyone having any information should call the ICE tip line at 866-347-2423. Any persons who were transported in the trailer should immediately seek medical attention.
It is important to note that the filing of a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Later in the day on July 24, a federal complaint was filed that alleges that James Matthew Bradley Jr., 60, unlawfully transported aliens in violation of law resulting in the death of 10 of the aliens transported. The tenth alien, an adult male, died overnight at a hospital. Upon conviction, the offense is punishable by life imprisonment or death, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
Despite increased border enforcement, the smuggling of migrants into the United States continues to be a problem and a lucrative enterprise for some. Smuggling on a smaller scale than the San Antonio case, see, for example, here, is detected frequently.
For many years, death on the border (and here and here) as migrants attempt to make the journey to the United States have been commonplace. Increased immigration enforcement measures have re-routed migrants through deserts and mountains where migrants are more likely to die. Human smuggling has grown as a business enterprise. Smuggling fees have increased from a few hundred dollars in the 1990s to thousands of dollars today. Jacquieline Lynn of the Dallas Morning News summarizes in reporting on the San Antonio case:
"hundreds . . . lose their lives every year trying to get across our southern border. The more we use fences and agents and checkpoints to keep them out, the more desperate they become — and the more often they die.
Extremely conservative estimates suggest that at least 6,500 unauthorized migrants have died trying to cross the border — mostly in Arizona and Texas — since 1998. A few drown, or are killed in clashes with border patrols, but most of them die of exposure trying to walk across remote desert areas."