Dozens of people were found dead in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas on Monday in what authorities believe was a human smuggling event.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman told ABC News that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was responding to reports of human smuggling when 46 people were found dead.
San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said that while the trailer was refrigerated, there was no working air-conditioning unit nor any water. The incident’s victims suffered from heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and were hot to the touch.
Hood added that authorities believe no children were among the fatalities. Another 16 people, including 12 adults and four children, were taken to nearby hospitals.
Chris Magnus, commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), said he was “horrified” by what authorities are calling a “mass casualty incident.”
“Horrified at this tragic loss of life near San Antonio,” Magnus told reporters Monday evening. “This speaks to the desperation of migrants who would put their lives in the hands of callous human smugglers who show no regard for human life.”
San Antonio Chief Bill McManus said a nearby worker first discovered the trailer with partially opened doors after he heard someone inside calling for help.
“HSI continues its enforcement efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities. We will continue to address the serious public safety threat posed by human smuggling organizations and their reckless disregard for the health and safety of those smuggled,” ICE said in a statement. “To report suspicious activity, we encourage people to call the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. All calls are kept confidential.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lashed out at President Joe Biden over the deadly event, blaming the president’s “open border policies.”
“At Least 42 People Found Dead Inside Truck Carrying Migrants In Texas. These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott tweeted. “They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also called out the Democrat’s refusal to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, allowing record numbers of illegal immigrants, drugs and cartel activity to enter the United States.
“Horrific. This..is..WRONG. How many more people have to die before Dems give a damn? #BidenBorderCrisis,” Cruz tweeted.
In May, 239,416 illegal immigrants were arrested at the Southern border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics. Last year, the Biden administration shattered the previous record of Southern-border arrests, reaching 1,734,686. The total number arrested this year is already over 1.5 million with four months still to go in FY22.