Dozens of migrants found dead in trailer in US


USA - Dozens of migrants were found dead in a tractor-trailer in what authorities believe was smuggling, officials in the US said, in what could trigger stringent regulations on migration policy, with police adding that at least 16 people have been admitted to various hospitals.

According to the Associated Press [AP], 46 bodies were recovered inside and outside the trailer, in an incident that has been termed as deadliest of all time with the victims suspected to have been attempting to cross over to the United States for greener pastures.

However, this is not the first incident between the border of Mexico and the US given that in 2013, 19 people died while crossing over the border, with 10 others dying in 2017. Police reports in San Antonio indicated they died as a result of sweltering in the vehicle.

South Texas has long been the busiest area for illegal border crossings. Migrants ride in vehicles through Border Patrol checkpoints to San Antonio, the closest major city, from which point they disperse across the United States, AP reports.

Police Chief William McManus said a passerby alerted a city worker over the situation on Monday evening with a police officer at the scene discovering the bodies. The trailer, he added, was partially opened indicating the struggle victims went through while struggling to open the truck.

Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground near the trailer as a grim symbol of the calamity. Bodies still remained inside.

Further reports show that of those taken to hospital,12 were adults and four were children, said Fire Chief Charles Hood. The patients were hot to the touch and dehydrated, and no water was found in the trailer, he said.

“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” Hood said. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”

Ron Nirenberg, the Mayor of San Antonio, said the 46 who died had “families who were likely trying to find a better life.” “This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” Nirenberg said.

Those in the trailer were part of a presumed migrant smuggling attempt into the United States, and the investigation was being led by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, McManus said.

Smugglers usually try to evade the tough security measures along the border thus their usual antics of locking the trailers. Those crossing over usually do not have requisite paperwork, necessitating their decision to choose murky routes.

A number of advocates drew a link to the Biden administration’s border policies. Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, wrote that he had been dreading such a tragedy for months.

“With the border shut as tightly as it is today for migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, people have been pushed into more and more dangerous routes. Truck smuggling is a way up,” he wrote on Twitter.


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