Biden mourns ‘heartbreaking’ migrant loss after San Antonio trailer incident

At least 46 bodies found in trailer, San Antonio officials say Officials reported on Tuesday morning that the death toll in the horrific incident where bodies were found “stacked” inside a truck’s tractor-trailer near San Antonio the night before had grown to claim at least 51 people, in what authorities suspect may be a shocking instance of cross-border migrant trafficking gone wrong. Another 16 people were taken to local hospitals in varying conditions, according to officials, including four children.

Police have taken three people into custody. A city worker heard a cry for help from the abandoned truck before discovering the gruesome scene, said police chief William McManus. US President Joe Biden called the “tragic loss of life” in Texas “horrifying and heartbreaking” while San Antonio’s mayor Ron Nirenberg called it a “horrific human tragedy”.

Mexico foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed in a Tuesday morning tweet that the nationalities of some of the victims who died inside the triple-digit-degree truck had begun to be released, which so far included 22 Mexicans, seven Guatemalans and two Hondurans. Texas governor Greg Abbott blamed the tragedy on the Biden administration, claiming “open borders” led to the horrific scene. The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the incident.

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A global look at some of the deadliest migrant trafficking incidents in recent history

The San Antonio mayor called Monday night’s incident a “horrific human tragedy”, while the US president said that the “tragic loss of life” uncovered in the Texas city was “horrifying and heartbreaking”.

The US Department of Homeland Security, who is leading the probe into the incident that left at least 50 people dead, is being investigated as “An alleged human smuggling event”, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said Monday. Some officials have begun labelling the fatal smuggling incident as appearing to be among the most deadly in recent years for migrants near the southern border. These deaths were just the latest in what has become a series of mass deaths occurring during human trafficking attempts from around the globe.

Here, the Associated Press provides a global look at some of those incidents: October 23, 2019: 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a truck trailer in Essex, England. Four men were jailed for manslaughter.

July 23, 2017: Eight immigrants were found dead in a sweltering trailer at a San Antonio Walmart parking lot. Two others died later in hospitals. The driver was sentenced to life in prison.

Feb.

20, 2017: 13 African migrants suffocated inside a shipping container while being transported between two towns in Libya. A total of 69 migrants, most from Mali, were packed into the container, according to the local Red Crescent branch. Aug.

27, 2015: Austrian police discovered an abandoned truck containing the bodies of 71 migrants, including eight children, from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The truck, found along a highway, had crossed into Austria from Hungary. April 4, 2009: 35 Afghan migrants suffocated inside a shipping container in southwestern Pakistan.

Authorities said that more than 100 people were packed inside the container. April 9, 2008: 54 Burmese migrants suffocated in the back of an airtight refrigerated truck in Ranong, Thailand. May 14, 2003: 19 migrants died inside a sweltering tractor-trailer while they traveled from South Texas to Houston.

June 18, 2000: 58 Chinese immigrants were found dead inside a truck in the English port town of Dover. The Dutch truck had transported the immigrants across the English Channel from Belgium. Two people survived.

Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 21:03

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US ambassador to Mexico: San Antonio trailer underscores ‘broken’ legal order at Texas border

The US ambassador to Mexico pinned the blame of at least “50 human beings in San Antonio” dying on what he described as a “broken” legal order at the country’s southern border. “The horrific and tragic deaths of at least 50 human beings in San Antonio TX last night is the result of a broken and dysfunctional migration legal order, and underscores the imperative of #SummitAmericas Migration Declaration to provide safe, orderly, humane, and legal migration,” Ken Salazar tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. In a follow-up post, the US ambassador shared a link to president Joe Biden’s statement on the mass death event in Texas, writing: “Smugglers and cartels profiting from human suffering must be held accountable.”

Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 20:29

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Guatemalan officials say forensic doctors report ‘heat stroke’ as probable cause of death

Guatemala’s foreign ministry released a series of tweets on Tuesday that described how their McAllen, Texas consulate is assisting in identifying the victims at the hospitals where the survivors were taken on Monday night. In a separate tweet, the foreign ministry said that the consulate in McAllen had been in contact with forensic doctors who were working to identify the remains of the dead migrants found crammed inside a tractor-trailer outside San Antonio on Monday. Those experts, the Guatemalan foreign ministry said, told the consulate that the probably cause of death for the people found inside the semitruck was “heat stroke due to being overcrowded”.

The ministry added that the experts told them it would likely take up to three days to identify the remains of the at least 50 people who died in the incident. Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 20:04

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Pope Francis offers prayers for ‘brothers and sisters’ who died in San Antonio semitruck

Pope Francis took to Twitter to express his condolences for the at least 50 “brothers and sisters” who died after being trapped inside a sweltering semitruck in San Antonio on Monday night. “I sorrowfully heard the news of the tragedy of the #migrants in Texas and #Melilla.

Let us #PrayTogether for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life,” the head of the Catholic Church tweeted from his official account on Tuesday. “For ourselves, may the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.” Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 19:28

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Mexican officials make rounds at hospitals where survivors are recovering

The Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio said that officials have begun touring the hospitals where survivors suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion are being treated after they were rescued from inside a triple-digit-degree semitruck on Monday. “We are here to support them and we are here to provide them with all the support of the consular network,” said Ruben Minutti in a video posted on the Twitter account of Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Foreign Minister, on Tuesday.

Mr Minutti said that he and Mr Ebrard are working in close collaboration and coordination with their Central American colleagues, and noted that the officials were giving priority to the care of families and hospitalised people awaiting confirmation and corroboration of the data on the nationality of said persons.  Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 19:05

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Mexico’s attorney general promises to open investigation into ‘tragedy’

Mexico’s foreign minister said that his country’s attorney general would open an investigation into the San Antonio “tragedy”. Writing on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, Marcelo Ebrard confirmed that he’d spoken with Mexico Attorney General Dr Alejandro Gertz Manero, who told the foreign minister that he planned to initiate a probe into the incident, which officials say has so far claimed at least 22 Mexican nationals.

Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 18:28

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Officials tap neighbouring counties to help with the number of bodies

On Tuesday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, the county’s top elected official, confirmed that officials had begun enlisting help from neighbouring counties to help deal with the number of bodies from the Monday night incident. The southern part of Texas where the semitruck was travelling through 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 US, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Wolff confirmed in an interview with the news agency Tuesday that law enforcement agencies believe the truck was coming up from Laredo, a border city that is more than 150 miles south of where the trailer was later uncovered. “They had just parked it on the side of the road,” Mr Wolff said. “Apparently had mechanical problems and left it there.” Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 18:05

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President Biden mourns the ‘horrifying and heartbreaking’ loss of life in San Antonio

US President Joe Biden issued a statement on the ‘tragic loss of life in San Antonio’ on Tuesday as the death toll climbed to 50 people.

“The tragic loss of life in San Antonio, Texas that took place yesterday is horrifying and heartbreaking. Our prayers are with those who lost their lives, their loved ones, as well as those still fighting for their lives,” the US president said in a statement shared Tuesday. The commander-in-chief also made a point to commend the “swift work” of the federal, state and local first responders involved in what is being described as one of the state’s worst migrant fatalities.

“Initial reports are that this tragedy was caused by smugglers or human traffickers who have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit,” the president said, noting that the investigation, being handled by the Department of Homeland Security, is still in its preliminary stages. “This incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths,” he said, before pivoting to highlight his administration’s launch of “a first-of-its kind anti-smuggling campaign”. “Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my Administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.”

Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 17:14

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White House press secretary: ‘The fact of the matter is, the border is closed’

While fielding reporters’ questions aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden was “closely monitoring the absolutely horrific and heartbreaking reports” from San Antonio. When pressed about the response from Republican lawmakers, who have levelled accusations against the Biden administration for being responsible for the stunning discovery on the side of the road outside San Antonio where 46 bodies were found stacked inside a semitruck’s trailer, Ms Jean-Pierre pushed back and said it was focused on the victims. “The fact of the matter is, the border is closed, which is in part why you see people trying to make this dangerous journey using smuggling networks,” she said. “Our prayers are with those who tragically lost their lives, their loved ones as well as those still fighting for their lives.

We’re also grateful for the swift work of federal, state and local first responders.” Online, Conservative lawmakers and pundits were quick to jump on Ms Jean-Pierre’s remarks. The Twitter account for House Republicans tweeted, while sharing an audio clip of the White House press secretary’s comments, “The FACTS are our southern border is NOT closed, and Joe Biden’s open border policies incentivized this tragedy”.

Rep Scott Fitzgerald described the White House press secretary’s remarks as “unacceptable”. “50 migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer from extreme heat and @PressSec responds with, ‘…the border is closed.’ This is unacceptable,” tweeted the Republican from Wisconsin. While Republican Rep Cliff Bentz accused the White House of “blatantly” lying to the American people, tweeting: “This administration continues to blatantly lie to the American people that the border is ‘closed,’ ‘effectively managed,’ and that they have ‘operational control’ of it,” the Oregon congressman tweeted. “It is a catastrophe of the highest degree.”

Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 16:52

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Forty-six people found dead at scene while four died in hospital, authorities say

Authorities confirm that 46 people were found dead at the scene, according to the Associated Press. Four more people among the dozens transferred to hospitals to be treated for heat stroke and heat exhaustion were also reported to have died, said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, the county’s top elected official. The death toll, now reaching at least 50 people, for the event has left some to describe it as being one of the worst tragedies to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the US-Mexico border.

pAn ambulance leaves the scene where police said dozens of people were found dead in a semitrailer in a remote area in southwestern San Antonio, Monday, June 27, 2022 /p

An ambulance leaves the scene where police said dozens of people were found dead in a semitrailer in a remote area in southwestern San Antonio, Monday, June 27, 2022

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press.

All rights reserved)

Johanna Chisholm28 June 2022 16:07