Kansas City Star editors headlined the AP article on the death of ten poor souls trapped in an overheated tractor trailer in San Antonio, “Immigrants wept, pleaded for water and pounded on the truck.”
The use of the word “immigrants” in this context is not as benign as it seems. For years, the media writ large, local media included, have legitimized the sometimes deadly trafficking of human beings by insisting that those trafficked were not illegal aliens or illegal immigrants or even migrants, but “immigrants” much like any other.
In a corollary fashion, those who opposed illegal immigration–like, say, President Trump or Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach–the media have routinely demonized as “anti-immigrant.” A quick Google search of “Kobach” and “anti-immigrant” nets more than 200,000 hits, the top one a headline from ThinkProgress, “Trump wants anti-immigrant hardliner to prove his lies.”
In an introductory 2012 article on Kobach, the Kansas City Star quoted Mark Potok, senior fellow for the Southern Poverty Law Center, as saying, “Wherever Kris Kobach goes, sorrows and trouble follow.” The tragedy in San Antonio suggests that wherever Kobach has not gone sorrows and trouble follow.
It took the death of ten people for the AP and the Star to share some of the details on the organized criminal enterprise behind the trafficking in illegal aliens.
According to investigators, many of the migrants had hired smugglers to escort them across the U.S. border. One of the survivors said he had paid a smuggler the equivalent of $700 to get him across the Rio Grande on a raft and to protect him from the drug cartels.
On the American side, the individual was taken by pick-up truck to Laredo where the migrants were hidden in safe houses and eventually loaded on to the tractor-trailer bound for San Antonio. Once there, the riders were expected the pay the smugglers an additional $5500.
The American driver, James Matthew Bradley, improbably claimed to have been unaware of the 90 or so people in the back of his truck. When he realized there was at least one dead person among them, he neglected to call 911. According to one survivor, six black SUVs were waiting in San Antonio to disperse the illegals once they arrived.
“Even though they have the driver in custody,” the acting director of ICE told the AP, “I can guarantee you there’s going to be many more people we’re looking for to prosecute.”
What is obvious from just this one incident is that the trafficking of human beings across the southern border is a vast, deadly criminal operation. Those in the media who have turned a blind eye to this evil–and shamed those who have tried to stop it–can no more plead innocence than the driver of the truck.