53 migrants in a truck: the greatest immigration tragedy in the US

When all legal ways to seek asylum or cross the border are nullified, people don’t stop migrating. Instead, he begins to take extreme measures whose consequences are often dramatic, but not surprising.

On July 24 there was the tragedy of Melillaand just three days later the largest documented migrant tragedy in US history occurred.

On a road in the town of San Antonio, Texas, a mechanic from a local workshop heard screams in Spanish from the interior from a trailer parked over there. He called the authorities and when they arrived and opened the truck doors, they found a pile of bodies and a dozen people dying.

48 dead inside the truck, including children, 16 dying, five of whom died hours later. I mean, 53 deathsof which half were Mexican, and the rest came from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

They traveled in that vehicle fleeing homelessness and insecurity of their lives, overcrowded, without ventilation, windows, or refrigeration, without water, and under extreme temperatures. They died from high temperatures, suffocation and dehydration. The San Antonio tragedy became the case deadliest human trafficking registered in the USA.

The more than 60 victims of the San Antonio tragedy were abandoned by the driver to their fate in that truck. As he reported The Texas Tribune in those days, when they were found, many of them seemed to have been drizzled with meat seasoning in an apparent attempt to hide the smell of death.

The smuggling driver fled. The vehicle traveled 200 kilometers from the Mexican border and bypassed two controls already on US soil, without any problem.

Attempts to cross the border in smuggling trucks they have become habitual in that region of the world. They are colloquially called “coyotes” or “polleros”, they have very little risk of being detected. The US-Mexico border is long, spanning several states at once, and truck inspections are very infrequent.

After the San Antonio tragedy, it was decided to increase the number of truck inspections. In fact, two weeks later they managed to intercept one that was carrying about 80 people.

Only in October of this year was there 230,000 arrests on the border with Mexico, with a third of those people expelled.

This strategy of expulsions, under the Title 42, is added to that of a ‘safe third country’, within the framework of which Mexico and Guatemala are the ones that have to take care of the migrants: sending them back home, letting them stay in their territories, but yes, making sure that don’t keep going up.

Since the infections and deaths from Covid fell, the whole world expected the US to lift Title 42, but a court decided keep it in force for a while longer, until a few days ago he was knocked down by a judicial decision. Due to this, migration experts foresee a considerable increase in the number of people trying to cross the borders, because they will no longer be able to be kicked out in an express way. That will inevitably generate an increase in deaths.

So far in 2022 they already count 853 people killed in his attempt to cross from Mexico into Texas without documents. Last year 546 victims were registered. And none of these figures include those who died in the territory of Mexico or in the previous tour of South and Central America.

The Darién Gap is a jungle area between Colombia and Panama, where the natural difficulties of crossing it on foot are combined with the danger posed by various drug and human trafficking gangs that operate there.

In the first ten months of 2022, the death or disappearance of 35 people, including 12 children. However, as the International Organization for Migration warns, it is a anecdotal figure which reflects only a small part of the true number of deaths. They undertake this journey, they die on the way, their remains are never recovered, therefore, they do not join any list. As if they had not existed.

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