At least 50 migrants died after being found in the back of a scorching hot truck in San Antonio, Texas Monday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was quick to blame President Biden for the migrant's deaths, and the President fired back.
But immigration advocates told Insider both politicians are to blame for the deadly tragedy.
Immigration activists say both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden have "utterly failed" the 50 migrants who died after dozens of people were found inside a scorching hot truck in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday.
"When migrants can't cross ports of entry they're forced to take more dangerous routes. Forced," Laura Peña, Director of Beyond Borders program at Texas Civil Rights Project, told Insider.
"This leads to what happened in San Antonio where people's only option is to be locked in a trailer ... as if they're not even human, instead of receiving a dignified, humane process at the border."
The victims included 22 Mexicans, seven Guatemalans, and two Hondurans, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was quick to blame President Joe Biden for the migrant's deaths, saying they're a result of his "deadly open border policies" in a tweet Tuesday.
—Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 28, 2022
Biden issued his own public statement decrying "political grandstanding around tragedy."
"My administration will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry," Biden added.
A spokesperson for Biden didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
But Peña said both politicians are to blame.
She said both Biden's continued enforcement of a Trump-era immigration rule — Title 42, which allows border officials to turn away asylum seekers due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and Abbott's Operation Lone Star in which he ordered National Guard members to the border have made for a more dangerous situation for migrants.
"They both have utterly failed people who are seeking safety by crossing the border," Peña said.
A spokesperson for Abbott didn't respond to specific questions about the governor's policies, but instead provided a statement doubling down on blaming Biden's border policies.
"President Biden swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation—it's time he starts living up to that oath and secures our southern border," the statement said.
San Antonio-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) provides legal assistance to those seeking asylum in the US.
Miriam Camero, the organization's Vice President of social programs, said the lives lost are a result of a "failure at all levels."
"They clearly lack a moral compass and they use every opportunity to amplify the complete wrong agenda and education for our community," she said of the politicians' response.
Peña said the political back and forth highlights a concerning pattern in US politics, whether it be in immigration or the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.
"We're at a point in our society where the value of Black and Brown bodies is at the center of these debates, whether it's the value of BIPOC women's bodies and their right to choose or the value of immigrants' lives, risking everything to seek safety in the US," Peña said.
Both Peña and Camero called for empathy on behalf of the migrants who lost their lives in the sweltering heat.
"These are not numbers, these are not headlines, these are actual human beings that were trying to seek a better life in the United States," Camero said.
"If putting your life, not just as risk, but affirmatively packing yourself into a container is a better option than remaining in a dangerous situation in which you are currently in, it really speaks volumes of those situations," Peña agreed.
RAICES sent lawyers to the scene, where bodies were being recovered and survivors were being sent for medical attention, but they were unable to make contact with any of the survivors, according to Camero.
"We will not stop until we get access and we're able to at least show what options and resources and support these victims do have as well as their family members," Camero said.
Read the original article on Insider