The 11 immigrants who survived the horrific smuggling attempt into the US that killed 53 in the back of a semi-trailer truck in Texas could legally remain in the country, says a US congressman.
“[The Department of Homeland Security] examines the potential applicability of T and U visas to the survivors. These visas protect victims of human trafficking and other crimes from deportation and help law enforcement to prosecute those responsible.” tweeted Joaquin Castro, Congressman from San Antonio.
In June, the surviving immigrants were pulled from a large oil rig where more than 70 victims were crammed into the back of a trailer without air conditioning or ventilation in inhumane, suffocating conditions.
The truck was found in San Antonio, where investigators described finding “piles of dead bodies” inside when they arrived.
26 of the 53 victims died from heat and dehydration. Local temperatures were reading over 103 degrees when the bodies were discovered.
Initially, 16 immigrants survived and were taken to area hospitals, but as the hours passed, five more died, bringing the death toll to 53. A priest who visited six of the victims in hospital told the Post an immigrant’s heart had stopped three times. while others were unable to speak due to being intubated.
The possible visas for the survivors offer different levels of protection, including protection from deportation.
The T visa is for victims of “serious human trafficking” and grants holders initial legal residency in the United States for up to four years, the right to work, and eventually a path to permanent residency.
The U visa is for crime victims who are willing to help law enforcement pursue other criminals.
Four men have been charged in connection with the smuggling attempt, including suspected driver Homero Zamorano. The US citizen was reportedly high on meth and was hospitalized as authorities say he tried to leave the trailer and posed as a smuggling victim.
The 53 immigrants who died have all been identified and their remains will be returned to their countries of origin.
A flight from San Antonio landed in Mexico on Thursday carrying some of the bodies, and more flights are planned for the coming days.
Of the immigrants killed, 26 were Mexican nationals, 21 were Guatemalan nationals and six were Honduran nationals, the San Antonio coroner said.
https://nypost.com/2022/07/14/survivors-of-texas-migrant-truck-horror-may-get-to-stay-in-us-legal-rep-castro/ Texas migrant truck horror survivors can legally stay in US: Rep. Castro