On Sunday (July 23), San Antonio police found 38 people, including two school-aged children, in the back of a brutally hot semi-truck in one of the worst recent cases of human smuggling. Eight people were already dead. The 30 survivors suffered heatstroke and dehydration, many to the extent of what the city’s fire chief called “irreversible brain damage.” One of the injured later died at the hospital.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said on Monday (July 24) that, although there were survivors in this case, similar incidents in which there are no survivors are all too frequent – a viewpoint seconded by a Texas Tech University immigration expert.

Miguel Levario, an associate professor in the Texas Tech University Department of History, specializes in U.S. history, borderlands history, race, immigration and Chicana/Mexican-American history. His book, “Militarizing the Border: When Mexicans Became the Enemy,” explains current tensions and controversy over immigration and law enforcement issues centered on the U.S.-Mexico border.


Miguel Levario, associate professor, Department of History, (806) 281-8343 or

Talking points

  • The United States’ complex and broken immigration system leads to higher rates of unauthorized entries into the country.
  • The cost of obtaining legal residency in the United States is too high, which also leads to unauthorized entries.
  • The loss of life across our southern border is an ongoing crisis as many migrants seek better lives in the United States despite the costs. Since 2009, one south Texas county has collected the remains of more than 550 undocumented immigrants.
  • Despite a drop in illegal entries, the body count across the southern boundary has remained constant.