‘A violent gamble.’ California crash that killed 13 undocumented migrants highlights perils of desperate border crossings – Daily News

Ray Sanchez CNN

After several hours Thirteen undocumented migrants were killed in a clash in the desolate area of ​​California’s Imperial Valley. Hugo Castro prayed and planted a small cross on the rocky edge of the sandy beach of the blocked highway.

The cross was made by other immigrants from a cedar tree in a shelter across the US-Mexico border. Some have recently been deported, while others are preparing to embark on a trek to the north. Messages such as “Jesus was an immigrant” and “I will not die anymore” were originally intended as a symbol of immigrant rights, but instead became a well-known marker of tragic journeys on the colorful cross. Scribbled in Spanish.

“These recent deaths will be in the news for a day or two,” said Castro, 49, the organizer of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) advocacy group. “Then they are forgotten.”

According to the Immigration Bureau, the clash between a 25-packed SUV and a semi-truck on the outskirts of a small town in Holtville highlights the dangers of human smuggling along the border. It also shows the despair of those fleeing poverty, unemployment and crime, sometimes even during a pandemic, due to living in hostile lands, defenders said.

“They are out of our control,” said 49-year-old Castro, referring to undocumented immigrants whose lives are perceived as uncountable. “We have to speak to them.”

Cross-border migration in the southwest has increased since October, with nearly 300,000 arrested and expelled by the end of last month. US Customs and Border Protection. Nearly 80,000 of these encounters occurred in January — compared to more than 36,000 of the same period a year ago. In 2020, from October to September, we met more than 458,000 times.

The vast majority of people who cross the border in recent months are single adults, many of whom are from Mexico. In fact, 87% of the 71,000 migrants detained in December were single adults.

“This is zero border crossings,” said Enrique Morones, a retired founder of the San Diego-based nonprofit Border Angels, on the easternmost tip of the southwest. He plans to stay up all night at the Imperial Valley crash site next week.

On Tuesday, the tragedy struck less than a mile from Holtville Cemetery with most of the unmarked tombs behind Holds the bodies of unidentified immigrants who died trying to enter the United States. A row of numbered bricks engraved with the words “Jane Doe” or “John Doe” indicates more than 500 tombs. Castro, Morones and other activists also left flowers and crucified them.

Imperial County is not only a bustling agricultural area, but also a trafficking center for immigrants, whose vast and relentless wilderness has blocked numerous illegal border crossings.

“The entire frontier region is stained with the blood of mothers and babies, grandmothers and grandfathers, fathers and mothers, sons and siblings,” lamented Castro.

“There is not enough space”

The 13 people killed on Tuesday Dozens of undocumented migrants entering the country through a hole in the border fence With Mexico, according to the US Border Guard. A total of 44 people reached US soil in a 10-foot breach at a fence near Interstate 8.

Surveillance footage showed two separate vehicles leaving the area where the fence was breached due to a failed human smuggling attempt.

A single vehicle, the maroon Ford Expedition, which normally seats up to eight people safely, was packed with 25 immigrants and the backseats were removed. Other SUVs later ignited, and 19 migrants fleeing the vehicle were detained with a nearby brush.

46-year-old Verlyn Cardona traveled from Guatemala with her 23-year-old daughter, Yesenia, who died on her side during the crash.

Cardona remembered walking for almost an hour to the border with other immigrants. SUVs were waiting for them. Cardona told CNN Español that she doesn’t believe the plan was to boost so many people.

“People were running and climbing over others,” she said from the hospital. “The door closed. We said,” There isn’t enough space. Open the door.’The truck was moving. “

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Over a dozen people died at the scene

Police received a call about the crash at 6:15 am. A large rig towing two empty trailers was heading north on State Highway 115. The 1997 expedition was heading west on Norrish Road in the Holtville region, about 100 miles east of San Diego. California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Omar Watson.

The 2011 Peterbilt Semi-Truck was running at an unknown speed as it crossed the SUV. It’s not clear if the SUV has stopped, but Watson said he entered the intersection in front of the rig.

Some occupants have been expelled from the SUV. According to Watson, others were found dead inside. A dozen people, including the driver, died on the scene, and another died in the hospital. The other nine, including two minors, were still in the hospital on Thursday.

Cardona remembered the overwhelming weight of others on her in an SUV. Then she had her eyes open while lying on the asphalt.

“I woke up, and we were scattered on the road,” she said. Her head and face hurts. A person near her asked for help. Her daughter lay on her feet.

“She was already dead,” Cardona said. “I checked her and looked back. I talked to her and touched her. She had no pulse. Her lips were purplish. No bruising on her face. did.”

‘You will die. .. .. Or you fight for your dreams “

Cardona said a young college student and an ambitious lawyer left the town of Chiquimulilla near the Pacific coast of Guatemala with his daughter after being threatened with murder by a local gang.

“I … wanted to protect her,” Cardona said. “On the way here, she found death.”

Cardona’s brother Rudy Dominguez, who had escaped gang violence when he moved to the United States 16 years ago, said pandemics, unemployment and crime had devastated Chikimuriri.

“There are two options: die in Guatemala or fight for a dream, come here and stay here and live a better life with your family,” he said.

According to authorities, SUV passengers were between the ages of 15 and 53. They are from Mexico and Guatemala.

At least 10 of the 13 people killed in the crash were Mexicans, according to consular officials.

The driver of the SUV was from the border city of Mexicali, the capital of Baja California, Mexico.

On the morning of the clash, authorities responded to a call for a red Chevrolet Suburban in flames near the intersection of Interstate 8 and Interstate 115. There, 19 people were found hiding in the brush. Border guards said they also entered through a hole in the border guard.

It is unknown why the semi-truck slammed into the driver’s side of the expedition at a rural intersection about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has stated that agents have never attempted to suspend or track either SUV.

Highway patrol and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the conflict, while CBP is leading the investigation into trafficking.

“Human smugglers have repeatedly been proven to take little consideration of human life,” CBP’s El Centro Sector Chief Gregory Bobino said in a statement. “People who are thinking of crossing the border illegally often need to stop to think about the dangers of tragedy. Our border guard agents and first responders are unfortunately very familiar. It’s a tragedy. “

Hundreds of unidentified bodies found

U.S. officials Increased border arrests are partly due to instability in Latin American countriesIt was exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and awareness of changes in immigration policy.

The pandemic hit Latin America. There, Covid-19 cases and deaths surged, and the economy, once predicted to grow, declined.

Those who have been illegally encountered across the U.S.-Mexico border in a takeover from the Trump administration could be quickly expelled from the country with little impact under the public health orders that came into force last year. .. It led to an adult trying to cross multiple times. Proponents said the policy would force some migrants to try to evade the authorities at any cost.

The latest number of deaths along the southwestern border was not available.But in October, CBP had at least local agents 300 unidentified immigrants remain in 2019, The highest number in 3 years.

According to the CBP, most of the bodies (men, women, children, often from Mexico and Central America) may have died from dehydration, intense heat and sub-zero temperatures. Some died of hunger after being abandoned by smugglers.

Some people were assaulted and killed or killed along the way in an accident like that happened near Holtville on Tuesday.Still, others drown in places like: 80 Miles All-American Canal — Water from the Colorado River supplies farmland that relies on the vast Imperial Valley’s vast day laborers.

“When many people jump over a fence, they first meet the canal,” said Nikolai Bope, a member of the Group Water Station, which leaves water in plastic drums for dehydrated migrants. “When you go to the canal, there are a lot of homemade levitation devices. It’s a very violent gambling and people are consistently willing to do it.”

Immigrant rights activist Castro said he rushed to the crash site on Tuesday from the border city of Calexico after seeing a Facebook post.

“That night, the tank truck was pulled up and started spraying water on the road,” he said. “For a while I felt the highway covered in blood. I turned my back and put another cross.”

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., Warner Media Company. all rights reserved.

‘A violent gamble.’ California crash that killed 13 undocumented migrants highlights perils of desperate border crossings – Daily News Source link ‘A violent gamble.’ California crash that killed 13 undocumented migrants highlights perils of desperate border crossings – Daily News

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