Feds call for crackdown on sanctuary cities in response to latest truck-involved human smuggling discovery


After 17 migrants were found locked inside a hot tractor-trailer in south Texas last weekend, leading to the arrest of two Cuban nationals responsible for the truck, immigration enforcement officials are calling for a crackdown on sanctuary cities.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan released a statement this week after law enforcement, acting on a tip, rescued the migrants in Edinburg, Texas.

“In just a few weeks since the tragedy in San Antonio that claimed the lives of 10 aliens during their transport in a tractor-trailer by a criminal smuggling operation, we’ve seen three more of these cases in the same area,” Homan said. “While additional loss of life has been avoided thus far, these cases underscore the urgent need to remove pull factors like sanctuary policies that only perpetuate the vicious human smuggling cycle. We will not let up in our efforts to disrupt and dismantle the illicit pathways used by transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling facilitators.”

In the most recent case, police found 14 men and three women inside the trailer, all of whom were alive. Their countries of origin include Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Romania. One of the immigrants reportedly called a relative in Mexico complaining about being trapped inside the hot truck. That relative, in turn, called police.

A witness to this event, Ramiro Provencio, who was at the truck stop to wash out trailers, told CBS affiliate KENS5 he had been approached in the parking lot by the two Cubans responsible for the truck who said they were looking for someone to fix the trailer’s reefer unit.

Last month, 10 undocumented immigrants died after being discovered in the back of a semi at a San Antonio Walmart. The driver of the truck was arrested and faces charges that could result in the death penalty if convicted.