Police detained three people suspected of a migrant smuggling operation.
Forty-six people were found dead inside a tractor trailer near San Antonio, Texas on Monday, local police and fire officials said. The authorities believe the victims were migrants trying to illegally enter the US.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said officers were alerted by a witness, who saw several bodies inside a parked 18-wheeler trailer with its doors partially open.
Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters that 16 people, including four children, were rescued and treated for heat-related illnesses. “They were suffering from heatstroke and exhaustion,” he said. Hood added that the trailer appeared not to have an air conditioning unit.
Police detained three people suspected of migrant smuggling.
“Migrants seeking asylum should always be treated as a humanitarian crisis, but this evening we’re facing a horrific human tragedy,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott argued that the tragedy was the result of the “open-border policies” of President Joe Biden.
“These deaths are on Biden… They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law,” he tweeted.
Border agents made 239,416 arrests along the border with Mexico last month, a 2% increase from April. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is on track to exceed 2 million arrests during fiscal year 2022, which ends in September, after making a record 1.73 million arrests in 2021.
“As temperatures start to rise in the summer, human smugglers will continue to exploit vulnerable populations and recklessly endanger the lives of migrants for financial gain,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said this month.