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San Antonio Tragedy Refocuses Attention On Human Smuggling In Texas

Eight people died at the scene and 30 others were transported to San Antonio hospitals in an apparent ill-fated human smuggling operation.
Eight people died at the scene and 30 others were transported to San Antonio hospitals in an apparent ill-fated human smuggling operation.

Ten people died in sweltering heat in a semi-trailer that was found early Sunday in a Walmart parking lot on the South side of San Antonio.

A total of 39 people –likely migrants in a human smuggling operation  – were found in the trailer by police upon arrival at the scene. Survivors were rushed to seven area hospitals to receive treatment for heat-related illnesses including heat stroke, dehydration and asphyxiation.

What led to this incident? How common is human smuggling in Texas? Could changes to U.S. immigration policy prevent future tragedies? 

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Raised in San Antonio, Jan Ross is a graduate of UT Austin’s School of Journalism. Before starting at Texas Public Radio, she interned for the News Desk at NPR Headquarters and the network’s mid-day program, Here & Now. She was a member of Texas Standard’s digital-first web team and interned during the newsmagazine show’s launch in 2015. Jan Ross is a Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change Fellow and was selected for the University of Texas System’s Archer Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Described as a “walking Wikipedia,” Jan Ross is interested in all things pop culture and global affairs. Her journalistic interests range from issues of social inequality to media commentary. She enjoys listening to podcasts and live music, traveling, and sharing the next-best shows on TV.