An illegal immigrant advocacy group attacked the San Antonio Police Department for calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after they discovered a trailer full of dead and critically endangered illegal aliens early Sunday. The organization’s leader says the smuggling victims were further traumatized by the presence of ICE. She also blamed the deaths on the Trump Administration’s immigration policies.
The open borders and pro-amnesty group RAICES organized the vigil-turned-rally that turned-out about 100 supporters in downtown San Antonio at the San Fernando Cathedral Sunday evening, the Rivard Report reported.
Breitbart Texas reported that police initially found eight dead illegal aliens early Sunday in a tractor trailer parked in a Walmart parking lot. Two more men later died from the exposure to the heat and lack of water. Officials reported approximately 20 people as being in “extremely critical” or “very serious” condition when found, including juvenile children. Prosecutors charged the Florida truck driver suspected in the deaths related to the human smuggling incident. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
The outlet reported that after they remembered those who died from asphyxiation or dehydration, the group’s community organizer, Barbie Hurtado, told those gathered that the immigrants died because of “corrupt governments” and “invisible borders.” The memorial service became a political rally against Texas’ new anti-sanctuary jurisdiction ban.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), the nation’s toughest anti-sanctuary city law in early May. Governor Abbott set passing the legislation as one of the year’s legislative session priorities.
RAICES set their sights on San Antonio PD for involving ICE because they say the department should have called non-profits such as their group, Catholic Charities, or the Rape Crisis Center. The Rivard Report wrote that Hurtado said these non-profits “could have ensured that the victims were not further traumatized by contact with ICE officials.”
“Their decision to involve ICE made them complicit in a larger systemic injustice,” Hurtado told the local media outlet.
RAICES distributed a press release that linked to a 2016 ACLU list of illegal alien deaths and injuries that allegedly occurred during encounters with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents.
A spokesperson for the San Antonio PD reportedly responded that notifying ICE officials is standard protocol. They also said, “The care and welfare of the victims was our top priority.”
The website of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency says that it “promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Central and South Texas.” It also encourages people to adopt an illegal immigrant family to “Stop the Raids!” The group says it is trying to find lawyers for about 2,300 families.
The State Bar of Texas, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, VERA Institute of Justice, and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, are sponsors of the San Antonio-based group that has branches in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Fort Worth.