On Monday, fifty migrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio—including two teenagers. As of Wednesday afternoon, the death toll had risen to 53 people. This tragedy is the deadliest human smuggling case in US history.
The Children’s Defense Fund-Texas mourns this catastrophic loss and offers its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the pursuit of protection and opportunity. CDF-Texas also denounces the racist and extremist policies that led to this tragedy—policies that continue to threaten the lives of thousands of migrants every year, including Title 42, the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols, Operation Lonestar, and the border wall.
Migrants and refugees, including children and entire families, flee their homes to escape persecution, conflict, and poverty. They endure treacherous journeys and risk exploitation at the hands of smugglers and traffickers in search of a better life. When migrants and refugees seek opportunity and protection, they deserve a chance to find it. They deserve the chance to live and thrive, and to be treated with dignity and respect that is intrinsic to their humanity.
The United States has the capacity and the resources to welcome all those seeking refuge, safety, and opportunity, especially those who have long endured systemic violence and oppression. We demand that President Biden and Governor Abbott put an immediate end to the policies that endanger the lives of migrants and refugees, and we call on Congress to muster the courage to enact immigration policies that support the core values of human dignity and human life.