The discovery of an abandoned 18-wheeler trailer containing the bodies of dozens of dead migrants on Monday in San Antonio, Texas, has shocked the country. The death toll was 50 as of Tuesday, making it one of the deadliest incidents involving border crossing in the U.S.
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to recklessly disregard the lives of the migrants they smuggle into the country,” Border Patrol El Paso Sector Chief Gloria I. Chavez said.
“The most pressing danger of crossing the border illegally in this desert region is the extreme summer heat,” she said.
Another tragedy is unlikely to stop people from trying, though.
In the last few decades, a number of shocking incidents have occurred with migrants dying in droves while seeking entry into the U.S. and elsewhere.
The United Nations called for an investigation of how 23 migrants died last Friday while crossing from Morocco into Spain, as it’s currently unknown how they died.
“We are appalled by the deaths of these migrants who intended to cross the border to seek a better life based on their legitimate human rights,” the UN Human Rights of the High Commissioner said in a statement.
The U.S. Border Patrol reported 557 deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border in the fiscal year 2021.
As of May 2022, the International Organization of Migration (IOM)’s Missing Migrants Project has tallied 48,423 deaths on migratory routes around the world, with nearly half occurring while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe from Asia and Africa.
2021 was the deadliest year for migrants, according to the United Nations.
These are some of the most high-profile cases in recent years:
Last year, at least 27 migrants drowned in the English Channel crossing from France.
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In 2019, 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a truck trailer in England, leading to manslaughter charges for four men.
In 2017, migrants were found in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio. Eight were dead inside and two others died later at the hospital. The driver of the truck was sentenced to life in prison.
Earlier that year, 13 African migrants suffocated in a shipping container while headed to a town in Libya.
As many as 500 migrants drowned when a ship sank in the Mediterranean in 2016. They were bound for Italy.
In 2015, Austrian police found 71 dead migrants from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in an abandoned truck that had crossed into the country from Hungary.
A shipping container in Pakistan carrying Afghani refugees was found in 2009 with more than 100 people inside — 35 were dead.
In 2003, the bodies of 17 migrants were found in a trailer in a truck stop in Texas. Seventeen were dead and one later died at the hospital.