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Live Reporting

Edited by Chris Giles

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for joining us

    Photographers gather behind a police cordon on a road
    Image caption: The road where the lorry stood is now largely empty, says our reporter

    We're pausing our live coverage now - but before we go here’s a recap of what we know.

    • Fifty people thought to be undocumented migrants are confirmed dead after their truck was discovered in Texas
    • The Mexican president says 22 of the victims were from Mexico, seven from Guatemala and two from Honduras; the other nationalities are unconfirmed
    • The trailer in which the bodies were found on Monday evening had been abandoned on a roadside about eight miles (14 km) from the centre of San Antonio
    • It’s thought the deaths were caused by extreme heat inside the unventilated trailer. Sixteen people were taken to hospital with acute heatstroke and dehydration
    • Three people have been detained as part of the investigation
    • Border policies under the administration of President Biden – and the previous Trump administration – have both been blamed for a surge in risky migrant crossings into the US
    • Biden vowed to tackle the “multi-billion-dollar criminal smuggling industry” following the incident

    This live page has been brought to you by James FitzGerald, Thom Poole, Alexandra Fouché, Robin Levinson-King, Sam Cabral, Holly Honderich, Bernd Debusmann and Chris Giles.

  2. Supreme Court to issue major immigration decision this week

    US Supreme Court

    Fresh off its seismic ruling to overturn the right to an abortion, the US Supreme Court is expected to issue a major immigration decision within the next three days.

    The case concerns a controversial Trump administration policy - commonly known as "remain in Mexico" - that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases make their way through US immigration courts, sometimes a years-long process.

    The Biden administration has scrapped the measure, arguing it is not an effective means of dealing with influxes at the border.

    Last year, a federal district judge in Texas ruled that such a move violates immigration law and ordered the government to restart the programme.

    In the final week of its 2021/22 term, the Supreme Court must now decide whether the Biden administration has the authority to end the policy.

  3. Why the spike in migrants across the border under Biden?

    Migrants bound for the US wait in the southern border of Mexico
    Image caption: Migrants bound for the US wait in the southern border of Mexico

    While the number of migrants at the border has been steadily increasing since April 2020, the numbers spiked after Joe Biden became president.

    Economic problems and environmental disasters in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Cuba worsened during the pandemic, forcing some to take on a long and perilous journey north. Gangs and violence have also been given as reasons why some left home.

    In May alone, statistics show that 239,416 arrests were made at the border, a 2% increase from April.

    US officials say they are on pace to exceed two million migrant "encounters" in the fiscal year that began in October, the fastest pace in more than 20 years.

    There's also been a sharp hike in the number of children crossing the border.

    In May, the number of unaccompanied minors taken into custody rose to 14,699, from the 12,180 recorded in April.

    Officials are now bracing for an expected massive influx of migrants over the summer following the end of Title 42, a pandemic policy that allows migrant to be quickly expelled over concerns about spreading Covid-19.

    Read more: What are President Biden's challenges at the Mexico border?

  4. Texas lawyer calls for more 'humane' border policy

    People walk along a fence after crossing the border from Mexico to the US

    American officials have a tough job when it comes to policing the border, says a lawyer who previously served as San Antonio’s top prosecutor.

    This case looks “very similar” to a previous incident in which a driver was convicted after 10 migrants were found dead in his truck, says John Bash.

    But he admits such penalties are not always a successful deterrent because smugglers know they are unlikely to be caught.

    It would be possible to check more vehicles on the US border, Bash says, but this would harm commerce - so policymakers have to find a “balance”.

    Bash thinks the answer is a “more humane […] effective” approach to border security, which he describes as under-resourced.

  5. 'Poverty and desperation' drive migrants - Mexican president

    Marcos González Díaz

    BBC News Mundo correspondent in Mexico

    Smugglers look skyward as they are followed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter after transporting migrants across the Rio Grande river into the U.S. from Mexico in Roma, Texas, U.S., June 16, 2022
    Image caption: People traffickers and a lack of border control are also part of the problem, Andrés Manuel López Obrador says

    "A tremendous tragedy,” said Mexico’s president about the immigrant deaths, among whom more than 20 were Mexican.

    Andrés Manuel López Obrador said this was due to the “poverty and desperation of Central American and Mexican brothers”, but also because “there is trafficking of people and a lack of control, in this case at the Mexican-US border and also in the US interior”.

    Mexico is a common route for thousands of migrants who travel from other Latin American countries - especially Central America - to try to reach the US, and make the journey in dangerous conditions. Last year, 55 migrants died in a crash involving a truck clandestinely transporting more than 160 people in southern Mexico.

    López Obrador announced that migration and its economic and social causes would be one of the central topics of the meeting he would still be having with US President Joe Biden on 12 July in Washington DC.

  6. Ex-Border Patrol officer: vehicle smuggling attempts often deadly

    Bernd Debusmann

    BBC News, Washington

    Dangerous smuggling attempts in overcrowded vehicles are everyday – and often deadly – occurrences at the Mexican border, according to former Border Patrol officer and immigration activist Jenn Budd.

    In an interview with the BBC, Budd – a former senior Border Patrol agent who has since become an outspoken critic of the force – said that dozens of people are often packed in vehicles much smaller than the trailer found Monday in San Antonio.

    In one instance, she recalls intercepting a vehicle in which about 30 people were found flat “like sardines” in the bed of a normal-sized pick-up truck driving on a mountainous road.

    “Those trucks flip. People on the bottom often suffocate. It’s very common,” she said.

    In most cases, she added, migrants being transported by vehicle have already undergone a “very perilous” journey on foot before arriving at a rendezvous point with a smuggler’s vehicle.

    “Smugglers will tell them it’s a 15- or 30-minute walk. But the reality is that it could be days,” she added. “[When they arrive] they’re already dehydrated.”

  7. Pope Francis mourns migrant deaths

    Pope Francis

    Pope Francis has joined the chorus of those mourning the "tragedy" in Texas and Melilla - where at least 23 sub-Saharan migrants died.

    "Let us pray together for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life," he wrote on Twitter. "May the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again."

    View more on twitter
  8. Two Mexicans in hospital, Foreign Minister says

    Two Mexican citizens are among those being treated in hospital following the discovery of the truck in Texas, according to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

    Consular officials are working to confirm their identities.

    Ebrard also says that Mexico is participating in the investigation and is dispatching a team to Texas.

    View more on twitter
  9. Smugglers 'proliferating' due to rising demand

    Emergency workers at the scene of a migrant-filled truck in Texas
    Image caption: The highway where the lorry was found is said to be popular for smuggling

    Officials in southern Texas have seen an increase in smugglers using this highway – Quintana Road - and a similar method of cramming people into the back of lorries, says an expert on migration policy.

    Gabriella Sanchez, a researcher and author on smuggling at the European University Institute, tells BBC World that there’s been a “proliferation” of criminals offering their smuggling services for a fee.

    But she says many migrants try on their own because they are excluded from the smuggling “market” due to rising demand and prices.

    Sanchez claims that riskier attempts at border crossings have been made following a ban by then-President Trump on migrants applying for asylum outside a so-called port of entry.

    She goes on to call for “equal access” to people of all races, nationalities and classes when it comes to applying for visas and passports.

  10. Congress at fault over border issues - former Obama official

    A border patrol vehicle near the border fence in Texas

    Blame aimed at President Biden over the deaths has been dismissed as “partisan politics” by the former commissioner of US customs and border protection under President Obama.

    Republicans have claimed the Biden administration is answerable for the truck deaths, because its “open” policies are encouraging more and more risky journeys.

    But Gil Kerlikowske tells BBC World that migrants’ hazardous crossings can be explained by Covid issues and the “economic opportunity” offered by life in the US.

    Kerlikowske expects a record number of apprehensions to be made along the US-Mexico border this year.

    “It can’t just be up to US border patrol to handle this influx,” he comments.

    He accuses Congress of failing to reform immigration policy to create “some sort of system that would offer consistency for people wanting to come into the United States”.

  11. Democrats and Republicans divided on who's to blame

    Two lawmakers who represent portions of San Antonio in the US Congress are Joaquin Castro, a Democrat, and Tony Gonzales, a Republican.

    Castro has placed the blame for Monday's migrant deaths on Trump-era immigration policies that the incumbent Biden administration has been unable to revoke.

    He called for an end to Title 42, a pandemic-related order that has enabled the mass expulsion of asylum-seekers, warning that it "has created more business, repeat business, for human smugglers" and has "put desperate, oppressed people in grave danger of death".

    Gonzales meanwhile has taken a different approach, repeatedly calling out "the open borders agenda" of the Biden administration.

    Calling for more border agents to be hired and an end to the "catch and release" of migrants awaiting trial, he twice tweeted that Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas - whose agency is in charge of immigration enforcement - must resign over Monday's incident.

    View more on twitter
  12. An immigrant city becomes a crime scene

    Angelica Casas

    Reporting from San Antonio

    Roberto Cantu with his mural prints

    Today the road where the lorry stood last night is mostly empty, except for the occasional police car and stationed media.

    Yesterday it was the final destination for at least 50 migrants, who will never reach the cities or relatives they had been on their way to meet.

    Roberto Cantu, an artist from Dallas, made his way to San Antonio early this morning to bring mural prints depicting immigration.

    “What happened here really touched me,” Cantu said. “I see migrants as my brothers.”

    Other residents from the area have stopped by to see if there are any updates or to find out how they can help.

    San Antonio is an immigrant city with predominantly Latino roots, and is home to several migrant shelters and refugee communities.

    It’s used to lending a helping hand to foreigners. Now, it’s the scene of a crime, forced to question how dozens of migrants would end up perishing here.

    The road in San Antonio is now a crime scene
  13. Mexico to open investigation

    Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard says the country's attorney general will investigate the migrant deaths in Texas.

    A team will fly to Texas as part of the investigation, he added.

    View more on twitter
  14. Biden goes after smuggling 'industry'

    Joe Biden

    US President Biden says the Texas truck deaths show the need to take down the "multi-billion-dollar criminal smuggling industry".

    The practice is "preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths," he comments in a statement.

    The criminals involved show "no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit," he adds.

    Biden says an investigation is ongoing.

  15. 'Walls of prosperity' needed to halt flow, Guatemala's president says

    Alejandro Giammattei

    Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei has been speaking after it emerged at least seven of the migrants found dead in the truck were from his country.

    At a meeting in Washington DC, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei blamed poverty, climate change and insecurity as primary drivers of migrants to the US.

    Stopping the flow of people, he said, will require building "walls of prosperity".

    [We need] safe, orderly, regularised migration," he said.

    On Monday, Giammattei met with US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying that he was working on a “common strategic agenda” to combat transnational organized crime and human trafficking.

  16. Border Patrol union condemns Biden administration

    The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) has blamed the Biden administration's border policies for the deaths in Texas.

    The NBPC, is a labour union, which represents about 18,000 Border Patrol officers.

    In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, the council said that the administration and its policies "are the single biggest factor driving the criminal chaos on the border, and they must accept responsibility."

    After the White House said the border was closed, the NBPC said: "Someone should ask them how we end up with 46 people who were smuggled 250 miles from the border to San Antonio."

    "How did they get through a 'closed' border?"

    View more on twitter
  17. Migration to take centre stage at Mexico-US meeting

    Migration will be "the main topic" during Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's 12 July visit to the US, according to Andrew Rudman, the director of the Washington DC-based Wilson Center's Mexico Institute.

    Rudman says a challenge is that there are no short-term solutions that would stop migrants from attempting the dangerous voyage.

    "Even if you could address the root causes of migration throughout the hemisphere... and fix them all, that doesn’t change the conditions for the people who feel that migrating to the United States under horrible conditions is the best option. Those people are leaving today," he said.

    Mexico, Rudman added, is likely to repeat calls for a number of changes, including an accelerated asylum adjudication process and for more US support for Mexican authorities dealing with migrants on their side of the border.

    These efforts, however, will do little to address the root causes of illegal migration.

    "If you decide that the best thing you can do for your family is pile into a truck with 50 other people, things are pretty bad," Rudman said.

  18. US confirms three suspects in custody

    As we reported earlier, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is leading a federal investigation into the deaths in Texas.

    A spokesperson for the agency confirms it has "detained three individuals believed to be part of the smuggling conspiracy".

  19. Politicians point fingers over truck deaths

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America correspondent

    Greg Abbott during a press conference in May
    Image caption: Governor Greg Abbott has hit out at the Biden administration

    It didn’t take long after the immigrant deaths in Texas were discovered for the political finger-pointing to begin.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott was quick to assign blame, saying that President Joe Biden was responsible for the fatalities.

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

    That prompted a quick response from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

    “The fact of the matter is, the border is closed, which is in part why you see people trying to make this dangerous journey using smuggling networks,” she said.

    Although jarring, the partisan acrimony is not entirely surprising given the political environment in Texas at the moment. Abbott is in the midst of a re-election campaign in which he has made hard-line immigration policies, along with hot-button cultural and social issues, a central feature.

    Abbott blames the Biden administration's efforts to roll back Donald Trump’s immigration policies for creating a recent record surge of undocumented migrants at the border - although many of those changes have been delayed by legal challenges.

    The governor’s Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke, has claimed Abbott’s stepped-up enforcement is in part responsible for the human trafficking rings that endanger migrants who lack legal avenues to enter the US.

    The San Antonio deaths come just a month after the mass shooting in nearby Uvalde, Texas, which prompted its own series of political accusations and recriminations between the two men.

  20. UN calls for 'safer alternatives' for migrants

    A police car on the scene near San Antonio
    Image caption: 50 deaths have been confirmed after bodies were found in a truck

    The United Nations is “deeply distressed and shocked” by the news of dozens of migrant deaths in Texas, says Shabia Mantoo, a spokesperson for the UN’s Refugee Agency.

    Mantoo tells the BBC that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers worldwide are endangering their lives – or risking exploitation from traffickers – by pursuing dangerous border crossings by land or sea.

    She explains that people in Central America may flee to escape “persecution, human rights violations or other abuses”.

    Mantoo calls for safer alternatives, including “fair and efficient” asylum processes around the world – and more efforts to address the root causes that make people flee their country.