San Antonio, Texas officials say the 46 people found dead in a trailer on the city’s outskirts are believed to be migrants who attempted to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. About 16 people, including children, were found alive in the trailer and rushed to local hospitals where they were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration.
At a news conference, city leaders said the death toll is one of the highest for migrants attempting to come to the U.S. in recent memory. “The plight of migrants seeking refuge is always a humanitarian crisis,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told reporters. “But tonight we are dealing with a horrific human tragedy.”
The trailer was discovered by the employee of a nearby business who heard cries for help from inside. They were able to open the door, and found the migrants inside, suffering in the Texas heat with “no visible, working A/C unit,” according to the fire chief, Charles Hood.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has spent millions trying to arrest migrants at the Southern border, though record numbers continue to make their way into the U.S. and either seek asylum or sometimes evade authorities and make their way to other parts of the country. The New York Times says San Antonio is a major transit point for migrants coming across the southern border.
“This horrible tragedy is a reminder that we need a safe, orderly way for people to claim asylum,” Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio told the Times. “The continued use of Title 42 has made desperate people even more desperate.”