100 NGOs urge Washington not to deport Texas truck survivors
Washington, June 30 (EFE).- About 100 human rights organizations asked the United States government on Thursday not to deport the survivors of the migrant truck tragedy in San Antonio, Texas, in which 53 people died.
The American Immigration Council sent a letter signed by nearly 100 organizations to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas concerned that survivors are at “imminent risk of deportation or expulsion under Title 42,” a policy implemented by former president Donald Trump and still in effect, by which undocumented immigrants who crossed the border illegally are expelled without being able to request asylum.
“Expelling or deporting any survivor under those circumstances would simply compound the horrors that they had experienced in that overcrowded trailer,” the letter said.
“In previous mass casualty incidents, victims and witnesses have ended up detained and deported within hours after being released from the hospital,” it noted.
“In other circumstances, victims of deadly smuggling incidents are held as material witnesses long enough to take depositions and then detained and deported. As a broader matter, we believe that it does not serve any principles of justice to force victims to testify, only to remove them once they have served that purpose. And in this case, doing so would cause enormous harm to the people who have already been through an unimaginable horror.”
They asked the Department of Homeland Security to guarantee survivors are “paroled into the United States” and offer them assistance in applying for visas or asylum.
“The victims will presumably be willing to provide information about what happened to them in a way which is likely to be helpful to the investigation or prosecution of the crime,” the letter said.
On Monday, an abandoned truck was discovered in San Antonio with 48 people found dead, and another 16 taken to nearby hospitals where five died, according to Homeland Security Investigations.
Of the 48, 22 were Mexican, seven Guatemalan, two Honduran and 17 were of unknown origin as identification continues.
The Supreme Court authorized President Joe Biden on Thursday to lift the Remain in Mexico program, a policy also established by Trump that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexican territory for their immigration case to be resolved.
However, Title 42 is still in force, and while Biden has tried to suspend it, a court has prevented him from doing so. EFE