Some of the survivors from the deadly human smuggling incident discovered in San Antonio on Sunday said they will testify if they get visas to stay in the United States, a lawyer disclosed on Tuesday.
The failed human smuggling operation left ten illegal immigrants dead and nearly two dozen had to be hospitalized for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration. Two illegal aliens remain in serious condition.
Sylvia Mintz, an attorney who represents the Guatemalan Consulate in Houston told Reuters she contacted the Department of Homeland Security to ask if they would consider granting “U-visas” to some of the survivors in exchange for their testimony against those responsible for the callous act of locking up to 200 illegal aliens in the trailer during the peak of the Texas summer heat.
“If we are able to establish the case, we will go ahead and seek the U visa,” Mintz told Reuters in a phone interview.
Most of those being smuggled in the trailer fled the scene, or were picked up by some of the black SUVs that were waiting at the Walmart to pick up the aliens, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Breitbart Texas.
One of the survivors told investigators that when the trailer doors finally opened six black SUVs were present to transport some of the illegal aliens. Those SUVs quickly filled up and departed the scene.
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Shan Folden told Reuters it was too early to determine if there is a need to issue U-visas to potential witnesses.
“There are a number of paths toward immigration relief for situations such as this,” he explained. “We are not at that point yet.”
Reuters explained that a U-visa provides legal status for up to four years. It also allows a pathway to permanent resident status and eventually citizenship. Congress restricts the number of U-visas each year to 10,000, a number easily exceeded by requests.
Victims can also apply for a T-visa reserved for those subjected to human trafficking.
Truck driver James Matthew Bradley, Jr. faces a possible death sentence if found guilty on the charges filed against him for transporting illegal aliens resulting in death. Police arrested the truck driver from Clearwater, Florida, at the scene following the discovery of the illegal aliens in the back of his truck. Officials declared eight of the foreign nationals to be dead at the scene. Two additional aliens died since the discovery raising the total number of deaths to 10. All are reported to be adult males.