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Texas migrant deaths: Families anxious amid efforts to ID victims

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US officials are working to confirm the identities of 53 people who died after a truck was abandoned in the heat of South Texas.

More than a dozen Honduran bodies have been identified among 53 people who died after being trapped inside a truck in southern Texas, a senior Mexican official said, as families continue their efforts to identify the victims. Want the news of loved ones.

Francisco Guarduno, the head of the Mexican government’s National Migration Institute (INM), said Wednesday that 14 Hondurans, seven Guatemalans and two Salvadorans died, up from 27 Mexican deaths reported a day earlier.

The names of some of the victims have so far been released, more than a day after officers found the truck that left dozens of people on Monday afternoon in the sweltering heat on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas.

The discovery marks one of the deadliest human trafficking incidents in the US-Mexico border region in recent years.

The death toll rose to 53 on Wednesday after two more people died, according to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office. Forty men and 13 women were among the victims.

Authorities had probable identities on 37 of the victims as of Wednesday morning, pending verification with authorities in other countries. “It’s an exhausting, exhausting, sad, difficult process,” Bexar County Commissioner Rebecca Clay-Flores said.

The discovery of the truck has sparked grief and anger across the United States, as migration advocates blame the country’s restrictive immigration policies for allowing asylum seekers to cross the border from Mexico to seek dangerous human traffickers.

The Center for Refugee and Immigrant Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas-based group, said in a statement, “At least 50 lives have been lost due to an immigration system that dehumanizes and criminalizes asylum seekers within our borders.” makes.” Tuesday

“As we grieve, our hearts are also with the families and loved ones of the victims and survivors who have yet to be named.”

RNT’s Manuel Rapalo, reporting on Wednesday morning from the San Antonio area where the truck was discovered, said a small, temporary monument has been set up at the site.

“The community here is really stunned by what happened,” he said, just weeks after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in nearby Uvalde, Texas. had come.

“Many people we’ve spoken to see this as one senseless tragedy after another. Others we’ve met say it was a completely avoidable tragedy. Growing despair, US policies Criticism is increasing,” Rapalo said.

“Migrant rights activists say the policies have changed traditional asylum procedures in the US… and without these border policies changes, many here worry that it is only a matter of time before another senseless Tragedy will happen again.”

Meanwhile, with little known about the victims, desperate families in Mexico and Central America spoke to their loved ones.

27 of the dead are believed to be of Mexican origin, according to Rubén Minutti, Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio, who said that many survivors with injuries such as brain damage and internal bleeding were in critical condition. ,

Officials said about 30 people had arrived at the Mexican consulate in search of their loved ones.

In the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, municipal officials in San Miguel Huatla were visiting the community of 32-year-old Jose Luis Guzmán Vasquez late Tuesday to find out if his mother wanted to travel to San Antonio to be with him. Huh. hospital.

San Miguel Huatla municipal secretary Manuel Velasco López said a cousin, Javier Flores, was traveling with Guzmán Vásquez and is now believed to be missing.

According to Velasco Lopez, Flores last called his family on June 19, when they told them he had already crossed the border and was hiding in a Texas house. Flores’ family is now eagerly anticipating the news that he is alive.

“He told me he was looking for a better life,” Flores’ mother, Virgilia Lopez, told Reuters news agency. “To send your kids to school, help them grow and build a better future.”

For its part, Guatemala’s foreign ministry said late Tuesday that it had confirmed that two of the hospitalized people were from the country and that three of the dead were working to identify possible Guatemalans.

The Honduran Ministry of Foreign Relations said it was working to confirm the identities of four people killed in the truck and carrying Honduran papers. Honduras Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eva Ferrufino said her agency is working with the Honduras consulate in South Texas to match names and fingerprints and complete identities.

The process is laborious because among the losses are fake or stolen documents.

Craig Larrabee, special agent in charge of Homeland, said migrants typically pay $8,000 to $10,000 to be transported across the border and loaded into a tractor-trailer and taken to San Antonio, where they reach their final destination. are transferred to smaller vehicles. Security checks in San Antonio.

Larrabee said conditions vary widely, including how much water passengers get and whether they are allowed to carry phones.

According to Guarduno at Mexico’s National Migration Institute, the truck discovered in San Antonio, which was registered in the Alamo, Texas, but had fake plates and a logo, was carrying 67 migrants.

While the driver was caught after trying to pretend to be one of the migrants, two other Mexican men have also been taken into custody, Guarduno said on Wednesday.