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Statement of Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, concerning deaths of 10 people from human smuggling or trafficking in San Antonio

July 23, 2017 —  There are no words to convey the sadness, despair, and yes, even anger, we feel today at learning of the completely senseless deaths of nine people who died as human smuggling or trafficking victims from heat exhaustion and suffocation in San Antonio overnight. This is an incomprehensible tragedy.

We also fervently pray for the recovery of health for about 30 other adults and children who are currently hospitalized, with news reports stating that the majority of those are fighting for their lives with serious injuries.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio has already reached out to our mayor and promised to offer whatever assistance is needed. We will do anything possible for these brothers and sisters and their families.

When 19 people died in similar circumstances in a locked trailer in nearby Victoria in 2003 the nation was stunned, and people of goodwill vowed to work diligently to ensure that something such as this would never happen again.

Unfortunately, law enforcement has reported an upsurge in these types of human smuggling and trafficking operations at the border in recent months, with increasingly desperate individuals seeking safety and a better life for their families placing their well-being and indeed their lives in the hands of reprehensible, callous smugglers and traffickers.

We pray for these victims and all victims of human smuggling and trafficking; that this monstrous form of modern slavery will come to a quick and final end. God cries seeing this reality and many other situations such as this across our country and around the world.

We now have a clarion call. Everyone — the churches, law enforcement, state and national elected officials, civic organizations, charitable groups — has to prioritize the immigration issue and truly work together in new ways which have eluded us in the past for common sense solutions. No more delays! No more victims!

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