San Antonio claims it isn't a sanctuary city, but it filed onto the lawsuit against Greg Abbott trying to stop all sanctuary cities.
I tried to think about what were the last few minutes like in that trailer that got stuck in San Antonio. You want to know why sanctuary cities are bad? It was awful and difficult to imagine, but I tried.
Here is what I imagined:
At first, we didn't realize the dead bodies were at our feet because we couldn't see anything. In total darkness, we couldn't help each other. We were all trapped. Maybe after an hour, a sudden stop and the squeal of truck breaks, we fell over each other and people groaned in pain. The trailer doors burst open and flashlights blinded us as few smugglers rushed into the trailer with different colored tape on our sweat-soaked shirts. Something needing to identify us when we arrived. The rush of the air from the open doors was hot and wet, but it was still a godsend. A few near the back tried to jump out but the smugglers beat them back inside and slammed the doors shut. The complete darkness returned. We're moving again, and my head was throbbing.
Through the pain, my mind warranted deliriously to the strange events of the last couple of weeks. My home is in a village in central Mexico, and it's where we worked hard, but we couldn't afford food or rent. Our streets are violent. Drug lords battling for control of our town. A family knew we had to leave, but where? North to America? Maybe Texas or Arizona? We knew Texas would turn us around. But if we could just get a foot hold in a sanctuary city, we heard about a service that guarantees passage to America for a price. The service is run by a criminal gang. They're dangerous, they're very expensive, but what options do we have? $700 just to get us across the Rio Grande. And then another 5,500 so the smugglers could get you to a sanctuary city. $6,200 for a chance for the whole family to survive. It took our family five years to save enough money just to send one family member. My father chose me. I'm 18, I have a stronger body, he said. Once I could get to a sanctuary city, my father said that I can work hard. I promised him that I would and that I would save my money and send it home. So eventually, the whole family could have a better life in Mexico. Two days on our rusty bus to the Rio Grande. Then waiting for nightfall to cross the river, there was only one raft for the crossing. There were 20 in our group. Took three trips just to get everybody across. I was on the last trip. Every sound terrified me as I expected floodlights and sirens at any moment. When we reached the American side of the river, two puppets took us to a stash house, is what they called it. Someone said we were in Laredo, Texas.
Finally, after 11 days confined to this filthy, cramped stash house, a tractor-trailer arrived in the middle of the night. We all were hurried outside. They herded us into the cave-like trailer. It felt like stepping into a furnace. The night doesn't cool down in Texas. My eyes adjusted enough to glimpse 100 or more people before they closed the doors and the lights vanished. Confusion, murmuring, whimpering, none of us knew each other. I leaned against one of the trailer walls as the truck began moving. I wiped some of the burning sweat from my eyes and blinked them open. Still, nothing to see. It was too dark. I wanted to ask other passengers how long they had been in here and where we were going, but I couldn't even make out faces of people on either side of me. I knew they were there only because I felt their wet arms and faces slide across mine as the truck jostled us down the road. Just get to the sanctuary city.
After a while, we started beating on the walls for help. The driver didn't even -- didn't hear us or ignored us. Feeling along a sidewall near the floor, someone found a hole no bigger than a bottle cap. We all try to take turns at the hole sucking in what air they could. It wasn't nearly enough. A brief stop, the rush of hot outside wind yelling and the colored tape to label us. Then back on the road and the heat tight end its grip vice on my chest. I heard a woman's panic breathing that a long, slow exhale as if she had died.
A strange, dreaded feeling surged through me. I thought "This is where I'm going to die." I thought of my mother. I have to stay alive for my family. They didn't scrimp and save for all these years for their son to die like a pig in a trailer. I tried to concentrate on each, slow, careful breath. My mouth was so dry, it felt coated in sand. Beside me, someone slumped against my shoulder and then crumbled to the trailer floor their head slamming into the wall. A child sobbed nearby. There was no sanctuary here. This is hell.
Another hour passed. I felt I was about to faint a couple of times. But one more turn at the air hole kept me barely conscious. I am going to die in here, I thought. Then the truck stopped again. After a few more excruciating minutes, the doors mercifully swung open and groups with certain-colored tape were allowed out and shoved into the black. Not group. I opened my mouth to protest but my mouth was so dry, my words got stuck in the sand in my mouth and the doors shut closed again. We used our remaining strength to yell and bang against the walls and the doors. But no matter how hard we pounded, we couldn't break through the back door. Finally, the door creaked open once more. And this time, 30 or more people poured out of the back, knocking a gray-bearded man to the ground. Was he the driver? I don't know.
I started to surge out with a rest, but I nearly fainted. I slumped to the floor. I heard a man say he was going to get help, as he climbed over me. Were we in the sanctuary city, I wondered?
How dare people who fight for sanctuary cities tell us we don't care about people. By holding out a carrot and saying "just make it here, and you don't have to go home," allows these criminals, coyotes, and killers to make thousands of dollars. A quarter of a million dollars was what they paid, the people in that truck. That was worth between a quarter and half a million dollars of precious cargo. They couldn't even put a stack of bottled water in the back.
And why are they coming here? Because we're unclear about our policies. Why are they coming here? Because honestly, if our towns were run over by drug lords, if our towns promised absolutely no way to escape the poverty, and you as a mom and a dad could escape the poverty with your family or pick one person from your family and say, "go, go and make money and send it back here" because that money is worth so much more here. It will feed the family. It will help the family educate. Wouldn't you do it? I know I would. If the situation was reversed and Mexico was a paradise, and I was living, and my family was threatened and Mexico was, like, just come here. You get to Mexico City, you're good. I would do it.
But think of the crime ring that that sanctuary city in Mexico would build. Think of the criminal element that didn't care about anything but money, how they would cash in and treat people exactly like the Germans treated the Jews on the trains to Auschwitz, like cattle.
These sanctuary cities need to be stopped. Our friends who think they're doing right by people, think that we don't hear the cries of the people who are living in abject poverty and grave danger. We do. We do. We recognize the human suffering on the other side of our border.
But everything has order to it. And if it doesn't, if there is no order, if there is no rule of law, there won't be anything left for people to strive and swim and risk their lives to come here for.
Many on our side of the argument never articulate the human suffering on the other side of the border. We talk about policies. But I charge and condemn those on the other side of the argument for doing exactly the same thing. You see the poverty in their home. I see that too. But you don't see the death and destruction on getting to your precious sanctuary city for so many.