Friday, March 5, 2021
I have blogged many times (see, for example here) about the deaths of migrants along the U.S./Mexico border. A horrific traffic accident near the U.S./Mexico border in California earlier this week brought national attention to human smuggling. Dara Lind for ProPublica offers some context to the accident. She writes that:
"An ICE spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times , , , that Homeland Security investigations agents `responded to the scene of today’s fatal crash' and began their smuggling investigation. The surveillance footage showed a second SUV, which held 19 people, also crossing the border around the same time. It subsequently caught fire; the Holtville fire chief speculated to the Los Angeles Times that the combined weight of the passengers caused the vehicle to malfunction.
There are plenty of ways for migrants to be killed trying to come to the United States. People suffocate in locked tractor trailers, die of heat or cold in the Arizona desert, or drown off the California shore. Migrants die in crashes while being chased by the Border Patrol, a phenomenon that ProPublica and the Times investigated in 2019. Even when they’re not being pursued — as they weren’t in this case — vehicles overstuffed with people can be hard to steer and dangerous to drive, which may have been the case here." (bold added).
According to the Los Angeles Times, Yesenia Magali Melendrez Cardona told her father she wanted to follow in his footsteps. He had made the trek from Guatemala to the U.S. 15 years earlier in search of a new life. The 23-year-old was one of 13 people killed in a collision involving a big rig and an SUV.