SAINT LOUIS — Local legal expert react to the tragedy in San Antonio, Texas, where at least 50 migrants were found dead in a tractor-trailer trying to cross the border.
As of Tuesday, authorities report the migrants died from suffocation inside a sweltering tractor-trailer, and more than a dozen others are in the hospital fighting for their lives.
“I was horrified. Horror and goosebumps all over my body,” said Evita Tolu, an immigration attorney in the Saint Louis area.
Tolu has worked with thousands of immigrants and knows how dangerous the journey can be crossing the border illegally.
“They all trust themselves to coyotes and trust themselves to human traffickers,” said Tolu. “They put their life in jeopardy so that they can have a fresh and better start here in the United States. These people were saving for years to make this journey, just to be suffocated in a trailer.”
Three people have been arrested so far for the smuggling. For Tolu, she said this is a human rights issue, and there needs to be more resources at the border and a bigger push for legal immigration.
“It’s about time our legislator does something to actually set a much better, stronger path to immigration, to those who come here and who want to work,” said Tolu.
Joaquin Castro (D), San Antonio’s district representative, said the country should treat migrants as refugees.
“Part of the problem, it’s not allowing people to present themselves in the United States and ask for asylum and rescue in our country,” said Castro.
Tolu said Saint Louisans should care because we, in fact, are city immigrants ourselves.
“We have big immigrant communities. We are part of the United States that’s threaded with hundreds and hundreds of immigrant communities,” said Tolu. “We should care about who comes to our country. We should provide a safe pass to immigration, so people, children, and women don’t have to risk their lives.”
You can contact attorney Evita Tolu here: https://toluimmigration.com/
There are many resources to help immigrants become United States citizens.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has an office in St. Louis, Missouri.
It is located on the second floor of the Robert A. Young Federal Building. The address is 1222 Spruce Street, Room 2.205 Saint Louis, MO 63103-2815. It is at the intersection of Spruce and Tucker Street.
The hours of this office are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, in order to visit this office or to speak with an Immigration Information Officer, you must have an appointment scheduled by USCIS, or you must schedule an INFOPASS appointment on the USCIS website.
You can schedule an INFOPASS appointment by clicking here. If you have an INFOPASS appointment at the St. Louis office, you will go to the window on the right.
You can find other resources here: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/services/topic.cfm?id=5&name=immigration-and-nationality.