HomeNewsReliance on Human Smugglers Continues to Kill Migrants at US-Mexico Border
NEWS

Reliance on Human Smugglers Continues to Kill Migrants at US-Mexico Border

HUMAN RIGHTS / 29 JUN 2022 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

As many as 50 migrants have been found dead inside a tractor trailer found about 150 miles north of the US-Mexico border, underscoring how a lack of legal migration pathways force those seeking to cross the border to rely on human smugglers.

Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard confirmed in a June 28 tweet that at least 22 Mexican nationals were among the 51 migrants local officials reported were found dead inside a tractor trailer in southwest San Antonio, Texas, one day earlier.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said during a June 27 press conference that a nearby worker heard cries for help, went to investigate and found the trailer’s doors partially open with a number of deceased individuals inside.

SEE ALSO: Migrants Disappearing, Dying as US-Mexico Border Remains Closed

Initially, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said during the same press conference that 46 dead bodies had been identified, with 16 more individuals transported to local hospitals for treatment. They were “hot to the touch,” he said. “No signs of water in the vehicle, it was a refrigerated tractor trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”

Authorities are still working to identify all of the bodies uncovered, but Foreign Secretary Ebrard said that seven Guatemalan and two Honduran nationals were also among the dead.

InSight Crime Analysis

Migrant deaths along the southwest US-Mexico border continue to increase as legal migration pathways have been closed.

This year “appears likely to be a record year for deaths of migrants on US soil” in part because US policy has “closed ports of entry to asylum seekers, routing many to the treacherous areas in between,” according to a June 2022 report from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

Policies like Title 42, the so-called public health order still in effect after first being implemented under former US President Donald Trump, have made clandestine border crossings the only option for entering the country and exacerbated the risks migrants face. These include drowning in the Rio Grande, dying from exposure to extreme heat while crossing the desert, as well as suffocating to death inside tractor trailers or dying in vehicle accidents.

SEE ALSO: With US Policy, Mexico Crime Groups See Double the Opportunity in Northbound Migrants

In the Laredo Sector of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to which the city of San Antonio belongs, migrant deaths have increased almost 40 percent in recent years, from at least 56 in fiscal year 2015 to 78 in fiscal year 2019, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report released last year.

However, the death toll is likely much higher, as CBP data only tells part of the story. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in April this year found that the agency has “not collected and recorded … complete data on migrant deaths.”

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 16 OCT 2012

Mexico has agreed to host a liaison office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that will…

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 29 MAY 2012

Mexico's authorities blamed the Caballeros Templarios gang for several attacks against Sabritas, a PepsiCo subsidiary, in what may be one…

BRAZIL / 24 JUL 2018

A new report says that the majority of killings of land and environmental leaders last year took place in Latin…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Memo Fantasma Coverage Gets Worldwide Attention

1 JUL 2022

Guillermo Acevedo, the former Colombian drug lord and paramilitary commander better known as Memo Fantasma, may soon be allowed to leave prison. Since first revealing the identity of Memo Fantasma…

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…