The United States and Mexico have admitted this Tuesday a failed immigration policy and have once again called out against human trafficking after the discovery of 51 dead migrants crammed into a truck in San Antonio (Texas)in the greatest tragedy of its kind in recent decades.
“The horrible and tragic death of at least 50 human beings in San Antonio last night is the result of broken and dysfunctional immigration laws,” the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, lamented on social networks.
“The horrific and tragic death of at least 50 human beings in San Antonio TX last night is a result of broken and dysfunctional immigration laws, and underscores the imperative of the United Nations Declaration on Migration #SummitAmericas to offer safe, orderly, humane and legal migration“
— Ambassador Ken Salazar (@USAmbMex) June 28, 2022
While the Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obradordescribed in a press conference the event of “tremendous misfortune” and has attributed it to human trafficking and “the lack of controls” both on the common border and “within the United States.”
The event occurred just two weeks after twenty American countries, including the United States and Mexico, signed during the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles a declaration in which they pledged to curb forced migration.
Mexicans and Central Americans, among the victims
Of the 51 deceased, at least 22 are Mexican, seven Guatemalans and two Hondurans, while the nationality of the other 20 is still unknown.
Another 16 migrants were found alive inside the vehicle and transferred to three hospitals in the area. From them, at least two are Mexican.
The authorities found the abandoned vehicle after receiving the alert that cries for help were heard inside, and three people were arrested that they would be part of a network of traffickers that transports migrants from Mexico and Central America to the United States. It is the largest human trafficking tragedy in recent decades that has occurred within the United States.
However, migration expert Eunice Rendón told Efe on Tuesday that events of this type, with more or less deaths, “are not new” but “the daily bread for migrants”.
In addition, it explains that the victims are people who flee their countries to “save their lives” and that, after sometimes paying thousands of dollars to traffickers to cross the border, they end up encountering an “abusive and violent modus operandi” by these criminal networks.
against human trafficking
The White House spokeswoman, Karine-Jean Pierre, has indicated this Tuesday that what happened in San Antonio is “absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking”at the same time that he has vindicated the actions of the United States Government against the trafficking networks that, according to what he has said, have allowed 1,800 people to be arrested in two months.
On a visit to Washington, the Guatemalan president, Alejandro Giammattei, declared that “It is imperative” to toughen the penalties against human trafficking and that traffickers be extradited.
And Pope Francis has asked to pray for the victims, who, according to what he said “were pursuing a better life”, and has also asked that “these misfortunes do not happen again”.
In December of last year, 55 migrants, mostly Guatemalans, died when the truck in which they were packed in crashed in Chiapassoutheastern Mexico, in the direction of US territory.
After that accident, the governments of the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic announced an Immediate Action Group (AI) to persecute trafficking networks.
“We have to go beyond the promises. There must be a clear show of action. It is not clear how countries collaborate with each other,” said the expert.
Increase the pressure of the closed border
The San Antonio tragedy is yet another chapter in the unprecedented migration crisis facing the region, where the United States detected more than 1.7 million undocumented immigrants crossing the border with Mexico, while the asylum policy remains restricted.
It is expected that in the coming days the Supreme Court of The United States rules on the permanence of the ‘Stay in Mexico’ programan immigration policy established by Donald Trump in 2019 that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexican territory until a US court decides on their case.
On his first day in the White House, Biden tried to end this highly criticized policy by human rights organizations, but a Texas court ordered to reinstate the program.
The White House spokeswoman indicated this Wednesday that “the border is closed” and that “partly explains why there are people who undertake this dangerous journey” alongside traffickers.
With a completely opposite viewthe Texan governor, Republican Greg Abbott, has taken advantage of the tragedy to attack the president and has affirmed that the dead are “the result of Biden’s lethal open-door policy.”
“United States policy is also to blame because the more difficult it is to find the border, the more profitable it is for human traffickers because they charge more,” says the expert.