Latin American leader pointed to lawlessness at US border after dozens of migrants were found dead in Texas
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the US government is struggling to manage the southern border, blaming “lack of control” after more than 50 immigrants died while being smuggled into the country, the deadliest human trafficking case in modern US history.
At a news conference on Tuesday — a day after dozens of migrants were found dead in a tractor-trailer near San Antonio, Texas — Obrador said the dead were a “huge tragedy”, adding that such incidents happen because of poverty and despair, as well as the chaotic environment along the border.
“It happens because there is human trafficking and a lack of control, in this case on the Mexican-US border, but also in the interior of the US.” said the chairman.
US law enforcement officers told CBS the incident “appears to be the deadliest human smuggling case in modern US history,” after local authorities in Texas raised the death toll to 51 on Tuesday afternoon. It’s unclear how long the group remained in the trailer, but police said there were no signs of water or working air conditioning in the vehicle, despite the scorching summer temperatures.
While all victims have yet to be identified, the dead included 39 men and 12 women, including migrants from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Another 12 adults and four children were taken to hospitals for treatment, all with heat-related conditions.
Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the deaths, who are believed to have participated in the smuggling operation that brought the victims to the United States, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman said.
Obrador further said he would meet with US President Joe Biden on July 12 to discuss the border issue, arguing that the tragedy in Texas “bitter evidence” that solutions are needed.
“We must continue to push to support people so that they do not have to leave their villages to look for life on the other side of the border.” he said.