President Joe Biden reacted to the deadly human smuggling attempt in San Antonio that occurred Monday, calling the “tragic loss of life” both “horrifying and heartbreaking.”
“Our prayers are with those who lost their lives, their loved ones, as well as those still fighting for their lives. As always, I am grateful for the swift work of all of the Federal, state, and local first responders,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday.
50 migrants are dead and more than a dozen were taken to the hospital after an 18-wheeler was discovered full of people on Monday, according to The Associated Press. The individuals endured heat stroke and heat exhaustion as there didn’t appear to be any working air conditioning, San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood told reporters Monday night.
“This incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths. In Los Angeles two weeks ago, I announced that the United States has launched a first-of-its kind anti-smuggling campaign with our regional partners. In the first three months, we have made over 2,400 arrests, and that work will only intensify in the months ahead,” Biden explained.
The Mexican Foreign Minister said Tuesday that among the deceased there were 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans and 2 Hondurans. Three individuals were taken into custody following the discovery of the vehicle, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said at Monday night’s news conference.
“Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my Administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry,” Biden said.
Biden’s statement follows criticism from Republicans that his policies allowed the incident to happen. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the deaths are Biden’s fault, but White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre rejected any blame, saying Tuesday that the border is closed.
Authorities encountered 239,416 migrants in May, the highest number seen at the southern border in recorded history.
The Biden administration has focused on ending many Trump-era policies used to expel migrants, such as the public health order known as Title 42 and the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forces some migrants to await court proceedings in Mexico.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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