Families of immigrants from Mexico and Central America desperately await news of their loved ones Tuesday as US officials work on a grim task to identify people who died after being abandoned in an unair-conditioned trailer in the sweltering heat of Texas.
death toll Local officials said 39 men and 12 women rose to 51 on Tuesday. at a press conference. The identification process will take days. They added that among those hospitalized, a teenager was in a critical condition.
US Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas told the Associated Press that the truck driver and two other people were arrested.
He said the truck passed a border patrol checkpoint northeast of Laredo, Texas and that he was unaware that there were migrants inside the truck as it passed.
The bodies were found Monday afternoon on the outskirts of San Antonio when a city official heard a cry for help from a truck parked on a deserted road and found the horrific scene of dozens of bodies huddled together, Police Chief William said.
A mother and daughter hug while watching the scene where people are found dead inside a truck in San Antonio, Texas (USA), Monday (27) – Photo: Kylie Greenley Bell/Reuters
Sixteen people – their bodies warm to the touch – were taken to hospitals, including four children.
Officials said 46 people were found dead at the scene. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, the county’s top elected official, said five others died after being taken to hospitals. He said most of the dead were men.
The death toll was the highest ever in a people smuggling incident in United StateAccording to Craig Larrabee, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio.
“This is a horror beyond anything we’ve experienced before,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “Unfortunately, it is an avoidable tragedy.”
President Joe Biden called the deaths “horrific and heartbreaking.”
Biden mourns death of immigrants in Texas truck
“The exploitation of vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is the political arrogance surrounding the tragedy, and my government will continue to do everything in its power to prevent people smugglers and human traffickers from exploiting people who seek to enter United State between ports of entry,” Biden said in a statement.
It was not long before the opposition criticized the Democrat for his responsibility in this drama, which is considered one of the worst in the country’s history, accusing him of not implementing a firm border policy.
After a day when temperatures approached 40 degrees, “the patients we saw were suffering from stroke and heat exhaustion, as there was no evidence of water in the car,” he said.
According to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 22 of the dead were from Mexico, seven from Guatemala and two from Honduras. “It’s a huge disgrace,” he said.
Lopez Obrador added that the immigration issue would be “central and essential” in his meeting with Biden on July 12. It is “bitter evidence” of the need to support policies that seek development so that people do not have to leave their places of origin.
According to the elements of the first investigation.This tragedy is caused by human traffickers who “exploit” migrants without respect for their livesBiden said in a statement.
He urged the US president to strengthen the fight against a “million-dollar criminal industry,” noting that 2,400 people have been arrested since the joint action was launched three months ago. United State and other countries in the region.
Republicans were not convinced. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who advocates for hardline immigration, blamed Democrats’ “deadly open border policies” for the incident. “These deaths are on Biden’s account,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Human traffickers take advantage of open borders and the most vulnerable are paying with their lives,” said Ted Cruz, a Texas senator.
The number of immigrant arrivals slowed during the pandemic but rose dramatically after the election of Joe Biden. Many pass through the city of San Antonio, 240 km from the border with Mexico.
His boss said about 60 rescuers were mobilized to handle the remains and received psychological support.
Trucks like the ones in San Antonio are a method of transportation used by immigrants trying to enter the territory United State.
Traveling is very dangerous, especially since vehicles of this type often lack ventilation or cooling systems.
On June 14, border guards found 80 migrants hiding in the back of a truck during a routine operation near the town of Laredo.
San Antonio was the scene of a similar tragedy in 2017, when 10 people suffocated in a shipping container bound for United State. The truck’s air conditioner was damaged and the ventilation space was covered.
Dozens of people were hospitalized with heatstroke and dehydration, although the truck is believed to have transported as many as 200 people – most of whom fled when the car stopped in a parking lot.
truck driver He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
On Tuesday, Pope Francis expressed his “pain” over the tragedies with immigrants, referring to what happened in Texas and the deaths of dozens last week while trying to enter the Spanish city of Melilla.
For its part, the United Nations said it was “deeply concerned”. This “once again demonstrates the critical need for legal and safe avenues to migrate,” a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, said in Geneva, Switzerland.
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