U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is conducting a human smuggling investigation after 13 people were killed Tuesday morning as an SUV filled with 25 suspected undocumented immigrants collided with a semi-truck in Southern California, according to an announcement by ICE.
The crash occurred on State Route 115 in the area of El Centro, 10 miles north of the US-Mexico border, at around 6:15am local time, authorities said.
The SUV collided with a big rig and left bodies scattered across a roadway near the U.S. Mexico border on Tuesday, a Border Patrol official told Fox News.
“Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations San Diego responded … and have initiated a human smuggling investigation,” ICE said in a statement.
California Highway Patrol Chief Omar Watson said it was clear that the overpacked vehicle caused “numerous” passengers to be ejected after the collision.
“Obviously that vehicle was not meant for that many people,” Watson said in a press conference. “It’s unfortunate that that number of people were put into that vehicle because there’s not enough safety restraints to safely keep those people within the vehicle.”
California police officers announced 12 people dead at the scene and another person died at a local hospital, authorities said. The remaining eight victims with injuries were transported to local hospitals.
“Some of the walking wounded were able to pull themselves out of the vehicle,” Watson said. “Once personnel arrived on the scene, some were wandering around and some of them had already passed away.”
“It was a pretty chaotic scene,” Watson added.
The passengers in the vehicle ranged in ages from 15 to 53, according to Watson.
Dr. Adolphe Edward, the chief executive of the El Centro hospital, said he believed the passengers were “undocumented migrants,” according to a report by The New York Times.
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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