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Greg Abbott slams Biden for the death of migrants whose body were found

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President Joe Biden has called out “political grandstanding around tragedy” on Tuesday, hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the deaths of the dozens of migrants found in a sweltering tractor-trailer in rural San Antonio were his fault.

The death toll from the apparent human smuggling incident rose from 46 to 50 as of Tuesday morning, US officials said.

Hours after dozens of bodies were discovered in the back of the 18-wheeler in San Antonio on Monday evening, the Republican governor fired off a tweet saying, “These deaths are on Biden.

“They are a result of his deadly open border policies,” Abbott seethed. “They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

Other prominent Republicans also blamed Biden’s immigration policies for the tragedy, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeting, “How many more people have to die before Dems give a damn?”

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) tweeted, “Today in San Antonio it was 102 degrees. Imagine being abandoned inside an 18-wheeler left to die … will [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] even mention their names?”

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn added, “There is nothing compassionate about the Biden administration’s open border policy.”

Arizona Sen. Andy Biggs called the fatalities “so tragic, so preventable.

“What Biden, Mayorkas, and Democrats refuse to acknowledge is that securing the border will save lives,” Biggs said.

The president fired back Tuesday, calling “political grandstanding” over the tragedy “shameful.”

The deaths were “horrifying and heartbreaking,” Biden said in a statement.

“While we are still learning all the facts about what happened and the Department of Homeland Security has the lead for the investigation, initial reports are that this tragedy was caused by smugglers or human traffickers who have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit.

“Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy, and my administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.”

The “stacks of bodies” were discovered near railroad tracks in a remote area on the southern outskirts of the city — after a city worker heard a cry for help from the truck shortly before 6 p.m., authorities said.

US authorities said Tuesday that at at least 51 people had perished in the truck.

Twenty-two were Mexican nationals, seven were from Guatemala and two from Honduras, said Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Authorities were still trying to determine the nationality for the remaining fatal victims.

Responding officers arrived to find one of the bodies on the ground outside the trailer. By nightfall, dozens of body bags lay spread across the ground, and some of the victims were still inside the trailer.

The bodies were only discovered after a city worker heard a cry for help from the truck shortly before 6 p.m., said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

Authorities said 16 survivors, including four children, were rushed to a hospital to be treated for heat-related illnesses. Fire Chief Charles Hood said the patients were hot to the touch and dehydrated.

“They were suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion,” Hood said. “It was a refrigerated tractor-trailer, but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig.”

Temperatures in San Antonio reached a high of 103 Monday amid an ongoing heat wave.

In 2017, 10 migrants died after becoming trapped in a truck parked outside a San Antonio Walmart, while 19 migrants were found dead in a truck in the same city in 2003.

Border Patrol has started warning migrants specifically of the dangers of crossing the border illegally after a spate of recent drowning deaths in the Rio Grande or falls from the border wall.

“Transnational criminal organizations continue to risk immigrant lives,” US Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector, Gloria Chavez, said last week. “Their main objective is to make money.”

The warnings come as migrant encounters at the US border continue to soar to record highs, with a staggering 239,416 recorded last month, Customs and Border Protection data show.

The latest figures bring the total migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022 to more than 1.5 million.

Conservatives have slammed Biden’s handling of the border crisis – particularly after his administration tried to lift a Trump-era policy, known as Title 42, which allows for the rapid expulsion of illegal immigrants because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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