SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County and San Antonio hospital officials gave an update Tuesday afternoon after dozens of migrants died of heat-related illnesses from being the back of an 18-wheeler.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, and University Health CEO, George Hernandez spoke at the event at University Hospital.
They gave an update on the death toll, which is up to 51. That includes 39 males and 12 females.
The migrants were discovered in the trailer Monday evening on the southwest side of San Antonio, at Quintana Road and Cassin Drive. In addition to the 51 people killed, another 11 were injured and taken to various local hospitals.
Judge Nelson Wolff spoke about his feelings about the incident, invoking the words on the Statue of Liberty.
"It says on the Statue of Liberty, 'Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'" Wolff said. "This nation was built on the backs of poor immigrants and is better for it."
Wolff also mentioned Governor Abbott's border enforcement mission, Operation Lone Star, which allowed Texas National Guard to be stationed at the border. The state approved $500 million to be spent on the operation back in April. Wolff said the money should be spent on other ways to prevent migrant smuggling and trafficking.
"The state of Texas has done everything wrong that I can think of. They should be using those funds to help immigrants...they should be spending the money helping the courts and moving along immigration cases," Wolff said.
He called upon national lawmakers to come together for immigration reform.
"And most of all, our state leaders should be supporting immigration reform. Until Congress acts on immigration reform that is fair to people…we are going to continue to see this horrible policy instituted by the state of Texas and complimented by the federal government," Wolff said.
Governor Greg Abbott responded to the incident Monday night, saying the deaths resulted from President Joe Biden's "deadly open border policies."
The temperatures inside the big rig were extreme as air temperatures reached 100 degrees on Monday.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the deaths of migrants who were in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas was “horrifying and heartbreaking" and he pledged his administration would do everything possible to prevent human trafficking and smuggling.
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