There was horror on the US border as at least 46 people were found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday. The terrible discovery was made by a worker who heard cries for help coming from inside the trailer and found a pile of bodies inside.
In a desperate attempt to cross the border, migrants got onto a truck with no air conditioning and no water in the sweltering Texas heat. A further 16 people, including four children, were taken to hospital after suffering heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Democratic politician and candidate for governor of Texas Beto O’Rourke called for action to “dismantle human smuggling rings”. But the blood is on the hands of the US state and its border controls.
The number of people attempting to cross the border irregularly has risen to the highest levels in more than a decade this year. Border forces said in March this year they expected 18,000 encounters with migrants a day.
While increasing numbers of migrants are risking their lives to get to the US, the options for safe routes across the border are basically non-existent. Despite the promises president Joe Biden made during his election campaign, immigration policy has changed little since the presidency of Donald Trump.
The public health order known as Title 42, which the Trump administration first used to expel migrants, is still in use. The order sends migrants back with no chance to apply for asylum. Often this leads to migrants repeatedly making attempts to cross the border.
During Biden’s presidency, this policy has turned away at least a million people. The policy director at the American Immigration Council, Aaron Reichlin‑Melnick, said policies like these only result in tragedy.
In just one year ending last September, US Customs and Border Protection reported 557 deaths on the southwest border alone, including in Texas. The actual number is likely to be even higher.
US border controls kill hundreds, if not thousands, a year. The same horror that refugees and migrants face in Texas repeats itself worldwide.
There were furious protests after Moroccan security forces, working with the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard, massacred at least 37 people in Melilla in north Africa. In Britain the Tories are still pushing their deadly scheme to send refugees to Rwanda.
On 19 July Care4Calais and the PCS union will be in court, fighting to make the Rwanda deportation plan unlawful. The battle inside the courts must come alongside furious demonstrations outside of it. Border controls kill.
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