A slew of survivors of Monday’s human-smuggling disaster in Texas are unable to speak while hooked up to hospital tubes — just the latest victims of empty US promises to reform immigration, a local Catholic leader told The Post.
“At this point, we are trying to hold on to any little sign of hope regarding any of them,’’ said Gustavo Garcia-Siller, the archbishop of San Antonio, who visited six victims.
“I only was with one that was able to speak. She was the youngest … 16 years old. The other ones are sedated,” he said Tuesday. “Her name was Sebastiana. And I said, ‘Where are you from? Guatemala?’ She smiled.
“There was another girl. She was 20, and they told me that she hadn’t opened her eyes at all,” Garcia-Siller added. “Before I left, she opened her eyes. … She tried to speak, but she couldn’t.”
In total, 16 people were rescued from the back of an abandoned truck on the outskirts of San Antonio on Monday evening, while at least 51 of the estimated 100 migrants who had been packed into the rig were dead.
Garcia-Siller said one hospitalized victim’s heart “had already stopped three times” and that he did not know if the person survived the night.
“It’s so hard for us here to think that people are people, that we are part of a larger reality, humanity,” the archbishop said.
“Since I came here in the 1980s, my work has been with immigrants. Ever since then, we were insisting on immigration reform, and nothing has been done since then. Truly nothing substantial and even the opposite.
“They’re people. They have families. They have suffered enough to make that kind of a trip to the United States with hope to connect with family and to live a more dignified life,” he added. “These are the poor, the neglected.’’
Of the 51 confirmed dead, 22 were Mexican citizens, seven were from Guatemala and two from Honduras, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday. Nineteen had yet to be identified, he added.
Pope Francis on Tuesday called for people to pray for those killed in the truck, as well as the 23 migrants who died this past weekend trying to get from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Melilla.
“Let us pray together for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life; and for ourselves, may the Lord might open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again,” the pope wrote.
Garcia-Siller said the San Antonio Catholic community would be holding a memorial Mass for the victims at San Antonio’s San Fernando Cathedral on Thursday night.