Texas Moves Checkpoints Back After Deadliest Smuggling Discovery
The state of Texas has resumed intensified truck inspections after 53 migrants died in a tractor-trailer rig. But unlike the previous program that snarled border traffic for miles, the new checkpoints will pull back and spread out along smuggling corridors that lead to San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
Gov. Greg Abbott had suspended his state’s enhanced border inspections after signing security agreements with four northern Mexico governors. But upon the grisly discovery on San Antonio’s south side last month – believed to be the deadliest human smuggling incident in U.S. history — the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was ordered to reactivate and relocate its checkpoints.
Researchers at the University of Texas estimate that, at any given time, more than 300,000 migrants are being trafficked around the state. Activity is highest in the “Texas Triangle” that encompasses Houston, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as the lower Rio Grande Valley.
Earlier last month, a Texas man pleaded guilty to attempting to transport 73 migrants in a tractor-trailer. He and his charges were seized at a Border Patrol checkpoint outside Falfurrias, 90 miles from the border. In March, troopers found 76 migrants inside a commercial truck at Carrizo Springs, 40 miles from the nearest port of entry. This list goes on, and represents mere pieces of a sprawling criminal enterprise.
It’s painfully obvious that neither Mexican security pledges nor cursory inspections at busy ports of entry are slowing traffickers fanatically determined to deliver their illicit human cargo by any means possible. Officials noted that corpses recovered outside of San Antonio had been sprinkled with steak seasoning — a crass ploy by smugglers to throw off scent-sniffing dogs.
By refocusing on interior highways and byways, DPS aims to flag down traffickers who blend in with the daily crush of vehicles at the ports of entry, or pick up illegal border crossers staged on this side of the border.
Abbott would not divulge the new chokepoint locations, saying DPS intends to “surprise the cartels and the smugglers.”
Whether the redeployment works remains to be seen. But it’s another costly burden for beleaguered Texans to carry. With the feckless Biden administration AWOL on immigration enforcement, the human and fiscal tolls are rising at intolerable rates.