A tragedy this week off the coast of San Diego, California, appears to be further compounding the Biden administration’s struggle to address a surge in illegal immigration.
According to reports, a boat capsized on Sunday, killing three people and injuring at least 20 others as part of what authorities believe was a human smuggling operation.
Officials address tragic incident
The incident occurred at about 10:15 a.m. near Cabrillo National Monument, according to the San Diego Fire Department.
@SDLifeguards and SDFD firefighters at Cabrillo Monument on the overturned vessel incident. 24 persons were on board. Many patients transported to hospitals. @USCG Fed Fire & many other agencies assisting. pic.twitter.com/jGbfnaRbJh
— SDFD (@SDFD) May 2, 2021
Ongoing rescue efforts related to a suspected maritime smuggling event. https://t.co/ka1uqH4kbu
— Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke (@USBPChiefSDC) May 2, 2021
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jeff Stephenson used the incident to emphasize the inherent risks in such efforts to bypass U.S. immigration laws.
“It was a big surprise”
“The reality is crossing the border illegally is unsafe no matter the method, especially at sea,” he said during a press conference. “The smugglers, they don’t care about the people they’re exploiting. All they care about is profit. To them, these people are just commodities.”
News of the capsized boat followed reports that roughly 90 individuals were found in one Texas home as part of another suspected smuggling operation.
“When they got inside the house they realized that this is actually going to turn into a human smuggling investigation,” said Assistant Houston Police Chief Daryn Edwards. “It was a big surprise when we got in the house and saw what we saw.”
An ongoing border surge has resulted in mounting concerns for authorities over the course of the Biden administration’s first few months. In March, more than 171,000 people are believed to have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the border crisis continues to represent a serious problem for U.S. interests, the latest tragedy at sea raises even more alarm regarding the safety of those seeking to circumvent immigration laws and policies to enter the nation.