In one of the deadliest recent incidents of apparent human smuggling along the U.S.-Mexico border, the number of dead migrants discovered inside a tractor-trailer outside San Antonio, Texas, climbed to fifty.
That figure was announced on Tuesday by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The migrants were discovered the day before, in a part of Texas where temperatures topped 103 degrees Fahrenheit, or nearly 40 degrees Celsius.
A San Antonio Fire Department official described “stacks of bodies”, and said there were no signs of water and no visible working air conditioning inside the truck.
In a tweet, Mexico’s foreign minister said Tuesday the dead included some 22 Mexicans, seven Guatemalans, and two Hondurans.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that its Homeland Security Investigations division was conducting a criminal probe into “an alleged human smuggling event” in coordination with local police.
The deaths once again highlight the challenge of controlling migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, which have reached record highs.
The issue has proven difficult for U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat who came into office in January 2021 pledging to reverse some of the hardline immigration policies of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.
Republicans have criticized Biden’s border strategy ahead of the midterm congressional elections in November.
Lopez Obrador on Tuesday said he will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on July 12.
He said migration will be a central issue in their discussions.
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