Pope Francis reacts to migrant deaths in San Antonio, asks people to ‘pray together’

Pope said migrants killed in Texas, Melilla were ‘following their hope of a better life’

Pope Francis arrives to attend his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at The Vatican, Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) (Alessandra Tarantino, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – Pope Francis asked for people to “pray together” for the migrants who died after they were abandoned in a sweltering trailer in San Antonio on Monday.

In a Tweet on Tuesday, the Pope said the migrants who died in Texas, as well as those who died last week while trying to cross the border into the north African enclave of Melilla, were “following their hope of a better life.”

“And for ourselves, may the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again,” he said in the Tweet.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller also issued a similar statement on Monday night, also asking for people to consider the first responders who “must now carry with them the memories of this scene of carnage.”

At least 50 people died in San Antonio after they were left in the trailer on Quintana Road on the Southwest Side.

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said 46 adults were found deceased at the scene. A total of 16 people were taken to area hospitals with heat-related illnesses, with four of those patients later dying.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the dead included 39 males and 11 females. Their ages are unknown at this time.

Marcelo Ebrard, the secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said that the deceased include 22 people from Mexico, seven from Guatemala and two from Honduras.

It is also unclear how long the people were inside the trailer, which had no air conditioning, no water and no holes for ventilation as temperatures surpassed 100 degrees, Hood said.

Three people were taken into custody but San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said it is unclear if they were definitively connected to the case.

Last week in Melilla, at least 23 people died in what Morrocan authorities called a “stampede” of hundreds of people that tried to scale or break through a 29-foot fence that surrounds the city.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez defended the police in Morocco and Spain, saying officers repelled migrants because they “attacked Spain’s borders with axes and hooks.”

However, nonprofits working in northern Africa and human rights organizations deplored the treatment the migrants received from police on both sides.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.