The death toll for the migrants trapped inside a truck in the Texas heat this week has risen to 53, and 11 migrants are still hospitalized, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Officials have also brought weapons charges against two illegal immigrants nabbed as they emerged from a residence linked to the truck.
The truck was found abandoned on a road in San Antonio on Monday evening, after a city worker heard a cry for help. When authorities arrived, they found bodies stacked inside, apparently succumbing to heat exposure.
Those still alive but unresponsive were even hot to touch, authorities have said.
The deaths sparked horror across the immigration debate, though widely divergent answers for why it happened. Republicans said President Biden and his more relaxed border policies shouldered the blame, while Mr. Biden said smugglers who facilitate illegal immigrants’ journey to the U.S. are responsible.
According to court documents, investigators tracked the truck’s registration to a San Antonio address and nabbed two men who emerged from the home.
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Each was armed, and each also admitted to being Mexican citizens in the country illegally, having overstayed their visas, a Homeland Security Investigations agent said in affidavits accompanying weapons charges.
HSI is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
On Tuesday, ICE had said it had three people in custody.
Reuters reported that a third person, believed to be the truck driver, is expected to be charged but was hospitalized on Tuesday.