At least 46 people, possibly immigrants, were found dead on an abandoned path outside San Antonio, Texas. According to local press reports, 16 people — including four children — were taken to hospitals with health problems due to the heat.
Exactly how the victims died is not yet known. Three people were detained as part of investigations into the episode, which are being conducted by federal agents.
Images posted on social media show vehicles and emergency teams around a large road. According to the authorities, the road that transported people did not have air conditioning and drinking water. The weather in San Antonio is quite hot in the summer months (from the northern hemisphere), with temperatures reaching 39.4º C this Monday (27/6).
According to TV channel KSAT, the vehicle was discovered near train tracks in the Southwest Side region of San Antonio. The city is about 250 km from the border between the United States and Mexico.
“They had families… and they were probably looking for a better life,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “It is simply a terrible human tragedy.”
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said two people from Guatemala had been taken to hospital, but added that the victims’ nationalities were still unknown.
Last year, there were a record number of illegal immigrants detained in the US from Mexico — many after having taken extremely risky routes. the use of trucks to transport illegal immigrants is common. In 2017, 10 immigrants were found dead on a path outside a Walmart store.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: “Human traffickers are heartless individuals who do not respect vulnerable people who exploit and put them at risk for profit.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott blamed US President Joe Biden for the deaths, describing them as “the result of his lethal open border policies”.
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate running against Abbott, called for urgent action to “dismantle human smuggling networks and replace them with expanded avenues for legal migration.”
Immigration is a controversial political issue in the US. In May, a record 239,000 undocumented migrants were detained entering the country from Mexico, many traveling along extremely unsafe routes.
US law enforcement is close to surpassing the record 1.73 million border arrests made in 2021.
Fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, many of the undocumented immigrants end up paying huge sums of money to human traffickers to try to cross the US border.
In recent years, there have been many similar examples of migrants who died during their journey, but no event was as tragic as this Monday.
– This text was originally published at https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/internacional-61962211
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