Families fret over fate of migrants trapped in Texas truck

Local community members hold a vigil for the migrants who were found dead inside a trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. June 28, 2022. REUTERS

OAXACA CITY, Mexico — Before he began the journey that ended in disaster, Jose Luis Vasquez lived in a remote mountainous community in southern Mexico, where a single telephone connects a few indigenous families to the outside world, local residents said.

Now the 31-year-old is in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, after becoming severely dehydrated in a sweltering tractor-trailer truck in which at least 53 migrants died in the worst human smuggling tragedy in recent U.S. history.

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One of them was as young as 13.

Vasquez had recently left the Mexican Army, according to his uncle Aquilino Guzman, who said he had seen his nephew several weeks before he left for the United States. But Vasquez had not shared those travel plans, Guzman said.

“I guess it was the same story as always,” Guzman told Reuters. “Looking for better opportunities.”

Guzman belongs to one of dozens of families awaiting word of loved ones, after Mexico’s government said 27 Mexicans and nearly two dozen Central Americans died in the ordeal.

Oaxaca’s government is seeking a humanitarian visa for Vasquez’s mother to be with her son while he recovers in Texas.