From Texas Public Radio:
One day after 17 migrants were found suffocating in a train car in Texas, law enforcement authorities found 12 more migrants Saturday in another rail car along the border with Mexico. One of the migrants was dead.
Border Patrol, Maverick County Sheriff’s deputies, and the Eagle Pass Fire Department responded to a 911 call from one of the migrants trapped in the shipping container for more than 24 hours at the Union Pacific train yard in Eagle Pass.
Law enforcement found 12 people in the train car. They were from Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras, and Colombia. One of the migrants — a Mexican national — was dead. Three people were taken to a nearby hospital and were in stable condition on Sunday night. Border Patrol agents detained eight people.
On Friday, 17 migrants were found suffocating in another train car in Knippa along Highway 90, about half way between the border city of Del Rio and San Antonio.
Uvalde police officers and Border Patrol investigators found two Honduran men dead inside that car.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is leading the investigations into both incidents.
“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,” HSI said in a statement to TPR.
Union Pacific Railroad told TPR it was cooperating fully with law enforcement and immigration authorities.
“Union Pacific is deeply saddened by [Saturday’s incident in Eagle Pass] and Friday’s incident near Knippa. Our commitment to safety and to guarding human life is central to who we are as a company and as people,” the company said in a statement. “These incidents stand as a grim reminder of why we make every effort to stop people from trespassing on our property and on our trains.”
The transportation corridors between the border cities of Del Rio and Eagle Pass to San Antonio has become a major human trafficking route.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told TPR that local law enforcement in the area have discovered migrants on trains, and they regularly encounter human smugglers in high speed vehicle chases through the area.
“We deal with this every day down here,” he said. “Not deaths every day but we’re dealing with immigrants every day. Seven days a week.”
Last June, 53 migrants were found dead in a tractor trailer in San Antonio. In 2017, ten migrants were found dead in a tractor trailer in a Walmart parking lot.
After each incident, Republicans have called for harder line immigration policies, and Democrats have called for a legal pathway to citizenship so people don’t have to undertake such a dangerous journey.