In the wake of a smuggling tragedy that ended in San Antonio, claiming at least ten lives, officials with the Mexican Consulate have been seeking answers from survivors, trying to gather an understanding of exactly what happened.
KENS 5 spoke with Reyna Torres Mendívil, Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio, to discuss her meetings with hospitalized undocumented immigrants who spent more than 15 hours in the back of a sealed tractor-trailer traveling to San Antonio.
Torres Mendívil said she visited with many of the more than 30 undocumented immigrants found inside a hot tractor trailer at a Walmart early Sunday morning on San Antonio's southwest side. They reportedly had no food or water and a victim said there was a single hole in the side of the trailer and they took turns breathing from it.
Torres Mendívil said seeing their suffering in person was heartbreaking.
"This is a human tragedy," Torres Mendívil said. "The saddest part, of course, is the situation they were put in. The survivors told her about how they were crammed inside a hot semi trailer. A large group of people enclosed in a metal container without water for hours...without air conditioning."
A lot of what they told her was hard to hear, she said. "This goes beyond our duties here at the Consulate," Torres Mendívil said of her emotions while visiting the survivors.
But she said she is on task and committed to helping the survivors. "Our first duty is assistance. Our second priority is to inform their relatives."
"The story the survivors told us is very tragic," Torres Mendívil said. "We have talked to all of them. This is a human tragedy. It affects the community and the country. The focus should be helping them, not political issues. We are talking about humans."
The consulate will offer legal help to the survivors who are from Mexico.