A truck driver was found guilty of all charges Monday and faces possible execution in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants who suffocated in his airless trailer in South Texas in 2003.
The milk trailer, piled with bodies and 55 survivors, was found abandoned at a truck stop near Victoria, Tex., in the early hours of May 14, 2003.
We are far too used to talking about this issue in terms of "illegal immigrants" which shifts the debate onto people who are in actuality the victems of our present broken immigration policy. A serious approach must acknowledge that the influx of people is driven by a fundamental economic reality, that we hold a unique position in the world, a developed economy sharing a 2,000 mile border with a developing economy. The approaches to this issue need to recognize that, and crack down on those who abuse the human rights of those who desperately seek passage to the United States. We need to crack down on people traffickers and those who employ illegal immigrants. We need to acknowledge that immigrant labor is important to many businesses, particularly in agriculture, and reform our visa policies to grant more visas to those who seek work in the United States so that they dont need to take the treacherous routes to pass into the United States illegally and won't be abused by people traffickers and unscrupulous employers who might pay less than minimum wage and house people in unsafe tin shacks. And finally, we need to expand fair trade and foreign aid with Mexico in order to equilize our economies. This issue is about human rights, and any reforms need to be focused on that reality.