46 migrants found dead inside truck trailer in San Antonio, Texas: officials

Source: globalnews.ca : 2022-06-28 02:03:40 : Sean Boynton

At least 46 people believed to be migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio on Monday, according to law enforcement officials.

Sixteen others, including four children, were found alive and taken from the vehicle to receive medical treatment, police and medical officials told a news conference.

No children were among those found deceased, the officials said.

The discovery is among the worst instances of migrant deaths in recent history, and comes amid a rise in illegal migration into the U.S. across its southern border.

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Gov. Greg Abbott, who earlier Monday evening had said the death toll was at 42 people did not release any official statement through his office.

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Instead, Abbott tweeted a news article about the discovery while blaming U.S. President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

“These deaths are on Biden,” the governor wrote. “They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller wrote on Twitter that the migrants had “hoped for a better life.”

“Lord have mercy on them,” he wrote.

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The Washington Post said the truck was found by agents from Homeland Security Investigations, a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that deals with human trafficking cases, citing the anonymous officials.

San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus confirmed during the news conference that the case was now a federal investigation.

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According to the New York Times, San Antonio police officers were searching for the driver of the tractor-trailer, who is believed to have abandoned the vehicle before it was discovered in a remote area of the city.

McManus said three people were in custody, but did not confirm if the driver was among them.

All of the victims were believed to be entering into the United States illegally from Mexico and had been brought north after crossing the border, which was roughly 225 kilometres away from where the truck was found.

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Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the Mexican consul was en route to the site of the discovery, although he noted the nationalities of the victims were still unknown.

The Mexican General Consulate in San Antonio said on Twitter that it would provide aid to any Mexicans involved in the incident, if there were any.

The latest U.S. Customs and Border Patrol figures show immigration arrests at the southern border in May rose to the highest levels ever recorded, with nearly 240,000 people detained that month.

While last year marked a new record with 1.73 million arrests, the agency is on track to surpass 2 million in the current fiscal year.

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Illegal border crossings have proven deadly before. Ten migrants died in 2017 after being trapped inside a truck that was parked at a Walmart in San Antonio. In 2003, 19 migrants were found in a sweltering truck southeast of San Antonio.

Big rigs emerged as a popular smuggling method in the early 1990s amid a surge in U.S. border enforcement in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, which were then the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.

Before that, people paid small fees to mom-and-pop operators to get them across a largely unguarded border. As crossing became exponentially more difficult after the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S., migrants were led through more dangerous terrain and paid thousands of dollars more.

Heat poses a serious danger, particularly when temperatures can rise severely inside vehicles. Weather in the San Antonio area was mostly cloudy Monday, but temperatures approached 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

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More to come…

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