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Sweltering Tractor-Trailer That Killed 53 Passed Inland Checkpoint

After 53 migrants died in a sweltering tractor-trailer, investigators found that the truck had passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Laredo, Tx., the Associated Press reports. It is unclear if the driver was stopped for questioning. On Thursday, Homero Zamorano Jr., the alleged driver, appeared in court but gave only yes and no answers to questions. It is also still unclear how long the migrants were in the truck or if they had their phones confiscated. One migrant woman, Jazmín Nayarith Bueso Núñez, 37, told her father and son via text that the smugglers were confiscating their phones. One of the men arrested told a government informant the air conditioning unit in the back of the vehicle had stopped working without the driver knowing, reports the Washington Post.

Critics are questioning the effectiveness of Border Patrol stops at the Mexican and Canadian borders. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state police to manage the inland tractor-trailer checkpoints, as he believes the Biden administration to be ineffective. It is unclear how many tractor-trailers are stopped by the checkpoints, but Laredo is one of the busiest areas along the border. This means it is not likely that every motorist is being stopped and questioned. This month, the Government Accountability Office recorded that inland checkpoints made 35,700 arrests between 2016 to 2020. However, this accounts for only two percent of all arrests. The Texas Department of Safety said it would take a “more aggressive stance” on inspecting vehicles crossing the border.