Bexar County sheriff says humanitarian crisis ‘doesn’t show any signs of letting up’

Sheriff Javier Salazar wrote to Biden, requesting meeting

Sheriff Javier Salazar has sent a letter to President Joe Biden in hopes of getting a meeting to discuss some ideas.

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he requested meetings with federal authorities, including President Joe Biden, following the deaths of 53 migrants in San Antonio earlier this week.

In an interview with ABC News, Salazar said he wants to meet with Biden to offer solutions to the humanitarian crisis along the border.

“You know, the fact is, I’m not just going to come to the table and present problems. I’m hoping to present some solutions,” he said. “But we just need the audience.”

Speaking with KSAT on Thursday, Salazar said he did not have a final list of possible solutions and was still getting feedback from immigration experts and other sheriffs.

His ideas include making it easier to gain legal entry to the United States, allowing migrants to work legally, and providing federal funding for cities and counties that are migration “hubs.”

Once it gets over your billion dollar blockade, who else is dealing with it? It’s us,” Salazar said.

The sheriff earlier this week wrote a letter to Biden and described a humanitarian crisis that his office needs help with. He pointed to Monday’s migrant tragedy as the latest reason.

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said first responders arrived at the tractor-trailer on the Southwest Side to find “stacks of bodies.”

Authorities said 67 people packed into that trailer, and 53 of those people died at the scene or in hospitals. Several others remain hospitalized.

The dead included 27 from Mexico, 14 from Honduras, seven from Guatemala and two from El Salvador, according to Francisco Garduño, chief of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said it potentially identified 37 of those victims. Forty of the victims are male and 13 are female.

In his letter, the sheriff asked for assistance in fighting those who “profit off the misery of smuggling victims.” He added that he was “angry” that he couldn’t stop the migrants’ death.

“We’ve got a list of possible solutions that hey, we may not have all the answers, but I think between those of us that are here, with eyes on the problem every day, and those in DC that are the top decision-makers, I think we can reach some sort of an understanding to try to truly make a difference in this in this issue,” Salazar told ABC News. “That right now doesn’t show any signs of letting up and we’re just pouring billions of dollars into the border, and I just don’t see it making a difference.”

Salazar was also highly critical of what he called the governor’s ineffective tactics at the border.

“We have not experienced any change. In fact, it seems to be picking up steam. To me, it just seems like a big campaign stunt, that billions of billions of dollars are being poured into it, and for what?... We’re sleeping out here in the desert, watching for this enemy invasion that never truly seems to come,” Salazar says.

This is the third time Salazar has reached out to the president.

He told ABC News that “someone in Washington” responded to him, but he’s skeptical that he’ll actually be able to meet with the president.

Read the entire letter below or click here.


About the Authors:

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

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.