Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the Biden administration’s illegal immigration policies are to blame, in part, after dozens of people were found dead inside a truck near San Antonio.
Hours after the bodies were found inside the back of an 18-wheeler truck on Monday, the Republican governor issued a Twitter post, saying, “These deaths are on [President Joe] Biden.”
“They are a result of his deadly open border policies,” Abbott wrote on the social media platform. “They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”
On Monday evening, local officials said that 46 people were found dead inside the tractor-trailer. On Tuesday, that number rose to 48 as two people died at a nearby hospital, a spokesperson with Baptist Health System confirmed to KSAT-TV.
“It’s tragic,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told the station. “We hope that those responsible for putting these people through such inhumane conditions are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The illegal immigrants most likely died due to heat stroke or heat exhaustion as they were trapped inside a tractor-trailer in 100-degree F weather, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told KSAT. Officials said the victims were mostly teens and young adults, and it’s not clear if any children were being transported illegally across the border.
In 2021, more than 2 million illegal aliens were stopped as they attempted to enter the United States along the southern border, according to data provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection earlier this year. In October 2021, the agency said that border arrests rose to an all-time high for the 2021 fiscal year.
Republicans have often said that the spike in illegal border crossings is because of the Biden administration’s failure to enforce federal immigration laws and its systematic rolling back of key Trump-era border policies, including rules that were created to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Border Patrol union chiefs, meanwhile, have similarly criticized the Biden administration’s policies and have praised Abbott’s plans to curb illegal immigration in his state. Last year, Abbott issued a number of orders, including one that allows state troopers to pull over vehicles with illegal immigrants suspected of having COVID-19.
“We’re at a breaking point. We’ve got miles upon miles of border that just aren’t patrolled because we have to deal with, frankly, an invasion,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told The Epoch Times earlier this year. “When you’re dealing with over 200,000 illegal border crossings per month, I don’t know how you don’t call it anything but that.”
Democrats instead have blamed an economic crisis in Central and South America for the surge in illegal migration, although Border Patrol agents have said that people from all over the world are arriving at the border—not just individuals from Latin America.