Victims have been found with no identification documents at all and in one case a stolen ID. Remote villages lack phone service to reach family members and determine the whereabouts of missing migrants. Fingerprint data has to be shared and matched by different governments.
(AP).- More than a day after the discovery of a stifling trailer in San Antonio where 51 migrants who died were abandoned in the sweltering heat, few identities of the victims have been made public, illustrating the challenges authorities face in tracing people who cross borders clandestinely.
By Tuesday afternoon, medical examiners had potentially identified 34 of the victims, said Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, who represents the district where the truck was abandoned. Those identities were not yet confirmed pending additional steps, such as fingerprints, and she described it as a challenge with no timeline on when the process might be finished.
“It’s a tedious, tedious, sad, difficult process,” she said.
The bodies were discovered Monday afternoon on the outskirts of San Antonio in what is believed to be the nation’s deadliest smuggling episode on the U.S.-Mexico border. More than a dozen people were taken to hospitals, including four children. Three people have been arrested.
The tragedy occurred at a time when huge numbers of migrants have been coming to the U.S., many of them taking perilous risks to cross swift rivers and canals and scorching desert landscapes. Migrants were stopped nearly 240,000 times in May, up by one-third from a year ago.
With little information about the victims, desperate families of migrants from Mexico and Central America frantically sought word of their loved ones.
Among the dead, 27 are believed to be of Mexican origin based on documents they were carrying, according to Rubén Minutti, the Mexico consul general in San Antonio. Several survivors were in critical condition with injuries such as brain damage and internal bleeding, he said. About 30 people had reached out to the Mexican Consulate looking for loved ones, officials said.
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