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Sheriff: Migrants at center of Friday semitruck scare in San Antonio in US legally, but unclear if they're allowed to work

A caller contacted authorities out of concern, given Monday's events just to the south.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio authorities responded to a scene where migrants were reported jumping in and out of an 18-wheeler on the southwest side Friday afternoon. 

The 18-wheeler was parked along the 2500 block of South General McMullen Drive where Bexar County Sheriff's Office vehicles, ambulances and a fire truck were seen around 6 p.m. Friday evening.

The initial caller told deputies they noticed people "jumping in and out" of the semitruck at the scene, sparking concern given the discovery of dozens of dead migrants in an abandoned semitruck just days, and just to the south of Friday's scene.

This group of 14, however, appeared to be a work crew, according to Sheriff Javier Salazar. No arrests were made. 

Homeland Security investigators were at the scene talking to the migrants to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing, Salazar said, adding that while the migrants are in the U.S. legally, “I don’t believe they have permission to be working.” 

There appeared to also be inconsistency between the permits they were given and what the individuals were apparently told those permits allowed them to do, adding to the confusion. Salazar said the workers were all employed by a California-based company, adding “the whole situation is just a little odd.”

“For example, one gentleman is a Cuban national, but he’s got an Italian passport. So HSI is trying to sort through all that.”

Salazar says there is also some cause for concern because since the migrants have court dates, it's unclear whether they qualify for work. The company hired them to do some type of demolition cleanup, the sheriff said. 

At the same time, he commended the caller for being on high-alert and contacting authorities in the event it turned out to be a smuggling incident. 

Credit: KENS 5


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