EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The death toll has now risen to 51 migrants that have died after being abandoned in the back of a tractor trailer in San Antonio on Monday.

President Biden saying in a statement that U.S. Customs and Homeland Security has the lead in for the investigation but initial reports are that it was caused by smugglers or human trafficker’s.

A Spokesperson for the U.S. Border Patrol El Paso sector explains the transnational criminal organizations do not care about the migrants.


“They don’t have a priority in your wellbeing, in you health or in your safety and the only care about making money and they’ll see you as a pawn or a piece in your game,” said Orlando Marrero Rubio a Spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The temperature reached over 100 degrees on Monday in San Antonio and to get an idea of how hot the trailer got KTSM 9 News went into an enclosed trailer. The trailer located in El Paso where it was about 90 degrees on Tuesday, when crews first opened the trailer the thermometer inside was at the maximum of 120 degrees.

State Representatives for El Paso speaking with KTSM 9 News about the incident.

“The lengths that people will take for a better life to come to this country to help their families. And I think it demonstrates is broken and really this is a federal responsibility and this is something that needs to be worked on in U.S. Congress. But today the deaths of those 46 (51) individuals demonstrates how broken our immigration system is and we need to do a better job,” said Cesar Blanco, Texas State Senator

“What happened in San Antonio is a result of what’s happening in relation to the human smuggling issue and we need to insure that we are going to have a proper process at ports of entry just to ensure that these lives are taken care of at the end of the day,” said Claudia Ordaz Perez, State Representative for District 76.


“The state has spent billions on quote on quote border security but we don’t have the ability to locate and find these individuals who are being loaded up on the Texas side of the border and then being left for dead, it’s embarrassing and it’s tragic,” said Joe Moody State Representative District 78.

A Spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety sending statistics since Operation Lone Star began.

“Operation Lone Star began in early March 2021, there have been 16,740 criminal arrests, including 4,413 for criminal trespassing. 14,066 felony charges have been filed and the department has seized more than 348 million lethal doses of fentanyl statewide. In addition, there have been more than 270,470 migrant apprehensions and referrals. These numbers are through June 23, 2022,” Marc A. Couch the Texas DPS Safety Education and Media Communications said in an email to KTSM.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott posting to twitter about the migrants who died, blaming President Biden.

“These deaths are on Biden. They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law,” Abbott’s tweet read.

Congressman Tony Gonzales sending a statement after the migrants were found.

“More needs to be done to disincentivize migrants from making the trek to our southern border. Currently, we`re on a path to exceed record breaking numbers of migrant deaths and recuses. These rescues often involve women and children and occur in extreme weather conditions or in dangerous terrains such as deserts and rivers,” Gonzales’ Statement read in part.

In the statement from President Biden he also mentions an anti-smuggling campaign in California.

“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,” the Presidents Statement read in part.

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