The 11 immigrants who survived the horrific botched smuggling attempt into the US that left 53 dead in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas might get to stay in the country legally, says a US congressman.

“[The Department of Homeland Security] is looking into the potential applicability of T and U visas for the survivors. These visas provide victims of human trafficking and other crimes with protections from deportation and help law enforcement prosecute those responsible,” tweeted San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro.

In June, the surviving immigrants were pulled from a big rig where over 70 victims were crammed into inhumane, suffocating conditions in the back of a trailer with no air conditioning or ventilation.

The truck was found in San Antonio, where investigators described finding “stacks of bodies” inside when they arrived.

Twenty-six of the 53 victims died of heat and dehydration. Local temperatures measured over 103 degrees when the bodies were discovered.

Initially, 16 immigrants survived and were taken to area hospitals, but as the hours passed, five more died, bringing the death toll to 53. A priest who visited six of the victims in the hospital told The Post one immigrant’s heart stopped three times, while others were unable to speak as they were intubated.

Police and other first responders work the scene where officials say dozens of people have been found dead and multiple others were taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses after a semitrailer containing suspected migrants was found, Monday, June 27, 2022, in San Antonio.
San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro said the 11 immigrants who survived in the back of a tractor-trailer in Texas might get to stay in the country legally.
AP/Eric Gay
Police guard an area at the scene where a tractor-trailer was discovered with migrants inside outside San Antonio, Texas on June 27, 2022.
Local temperatures measured over 103 degrees when the bodies were discovered.
SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images
U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX, 20) speaks about 'Congress' Role in Trump Era Foreign Policy' at Harvard University Institute of Politics John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on September 20, 2018 in Cambridge.
Castro said the survivors could be eligible for visas that protect victims of human trafficking and other crimes from deportation.
Paul Marotta/Getty Images

The potential visas for the survivors offer varying degrees of protection, including from deportation.

The T visa is for victims of “severe human trafficking” and grants holders an initial legal stay in the US of up to four years, the right to work and eventually a pathway to permanent residency.

The U visa is for victims of crime who are willing to help law enforcement in the prosecution of other criminals.

Flowers are displayed at a makeshift memorial at the spot where a tractor-trailer was discovered with migrants inside, outside San Antonio, Texas, on June 29, 2022.
Fifty-three immigrants were found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer on June 29.
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Four men have been charged in connection to the smuggling attempt, including the suspected driver, Homero Zamorano. The US citizen was allegedly high on meth and hospitalized himself as authorities say he tried to abandon the trailer and pass himself off as a smuggling victim.

The 53 immigrants who died have all been identified and their remains are being sent back to their countries of origin.

A flight from San Antonio landed in Mexico Thursday carrying some of the bodies, and other flights are planned for the coming days.

Of the immigrants who died 26 were citizens of Mexico, 21 from Guatemala and six were from Honduras, said the medical examiner in San Antonio.





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