Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas slammed the sanctuary city policies of San Antonio for the horrific heatstroke deaths of illegal immigrants discovered Sunday at a Walmart parking lot.
He explained why he was blaming those policies to KVUE-TV, saying that people were drawn to illegally crossing in the U.S., believing there was an “oasis” waiting for them in sanctuary cities.
“It’s a humanitarian crisis and in my view, murder when you stuff people,” he said, “when it’s a hundred degrees or more in the back of a truck, and who knows how long they were in the back of that truck. I’ve always said, I’ve said this for years, no one should have to die to come to America.”
Eight migrants were found dead in the sweltering trailer Sunday, while another two died after being found. The San Antonio fire chief said that dozens more were injured with some suffering “irreversible brain damage.”
“We need legal immigration reform,” Patrick continued. “That’s up to both parties in Washington [D.C.]. It has been for a very long time, so that people can come here in dignity.”
“We need to control who comes here, but those who come here,” he concluded, “we want them to come here in dignity, not have to live in the shadows, and embrace our country.”
Patrick posted the video of his exchange on his social media account, tweeting, “I discussed the tragedy discovered in San Antonio over the weekend on @KVUE last night. Here’s the tape.”
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) July 24, 2017
Truck driver James Matthew Bradley Jr., 60, told investigators that he had no idea there were dozens of illegal immigrants stuffed into the trailer. He could face the death penalty over the deaths that could have been easily prevented.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the deaths “a heartbreaking tragedy,” and promised that officials would “bring down the full weight of the law for the perpetrators of this despicable crime.”
Targeting sanctuary city policies was one of then-candidate Trump’s promises made on the campaign trail, and his administration has threatened to cut federal funding from those cities who continue denying cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Some sanctuary cities responded by doubling down on the policies, such as Los Angeles where Mayor Gil Garcetti ordered even more stringent anti-enforcement policies on city employees.