by Jason Hopkins
Border Patrol agents busted a major illegal immigration operation, uncovering a tractor trailer at the Texas-Mexico border carrying more than 70 illegal aliens.
Agents working at the Laredo North Border Patrol Station conducted a routine inspection of a commercial tractor trailer on Monday after it approached the area’s checkpoint. Upon inspection, agents discovered more than 70 illegal aliens sitting inside. The group — made up of both men and women — were Guatemalan, Salvadoran, and Mexican nationals, according to a report from Customs and Border Patrol.
Every single one of the illegal aliens, including the driver, who was a U.S. citizen, was placed under arrest. Homeland Security Investigations, a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has taken over the investigation of the case.
Agents also noticed that all of the migrants inside the tractor trailer wore t-shirts spray painted with specific letters. The agency believes these markings were used to classify and identify the individuals, similar to the process of marking commodities and cargo that is transported.
Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, voiced his disgust at the human smugglers responsible for handling the migrants in such a manner.
“When you see these pictures, I hope that you have the same level of disturbance that I did,” Morgan told reporters on Tuesday. “Obviously, the investigation is still ongoing to definitively determine what that letter meant on their t-shirts, but preliminary reports suggest that alien smuggling organization’s moniker representing that they had responsibility for those individuals.”
The CBP chief also revealed that preliminary reports indicate that the smugglers also put the letters on the migrants’ bodies, as well.
“And it’s just disgusting to me. It’s another example of how the cartels — that’s who we should be attacking,” Morgan said. “That’s who we should be going after. That’s who we should be targeting. You’ve got a human smuggling organization that’s going to take a human being and spray paint a letter on their t-shirt and brand them like a piece of cattle, and treat them no more than a money-making commodity. That’s horrible.”
Since the height of the border crisis in May — when U.S. immigration officials saw roughly 144,000 illegal aliens attempt to reach the border — the situation has waned dramatically. Morgan said “catch and release” has now stopped for 95% of illegal aliens, and daily border apprehensions currently hover around 1,400.
Nevertheless, the CBP chief maintains that there is still a crisis at the southern border, and points to smuggling cartels feeding migrants with lies about the realities of reaching the U.S. interior.
“When I go and talk about ending catch and release, and I talk about the migrants — they should stop listening to the smuggling organizations. They are lying to them. They should stop giving their life savings to these individuals,” Morgan said.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.