[Biden owns it...] SUV in crash where 13 illegal aliens died came through hole in border fence

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Leroy N. Soetoro

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Mar 7, 2021, 8:10:32 PM3/7/21
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https://news.yahoo.com/crash-kills-13-route-illegal-065740151.html

HOLTVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The 13 people killed in one of the deadliest
highway crashes involving migrants sneaking into the U.S. had entered
California through a section of border fence with Mexico that was cut
away, apparently by smugglers, immigration officials said Wednesday.

Surveillance video showed a Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban drive
through the opening early Tuesday, said Gregory Bovino, the Border
Patrol's El Centro sector chief. The video has not been publicly released
because it’s part of an ongoing investigation.

The Suburban carried 19 people, and it caught fire for unknown reasons on
a nearby interstate after entering the U.S. All escaped the vehicle and
were taken into custody by Border Patrol agents.

The Expedition crammed with 25 people continued on, and a tractor-trailer
struck it a short time later. Ten of the 13 killed in that crash have been
identified as Mexican citizens. The Border Patrol said its agents were not
pursuing the vehicle before the wreck.

The opening in the fence was about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of the
crash in the heart of California’s Imperial Valley, a major farming region
now at the height of a harvest that provides much of the lettuce, onions,
broccoli and winter vegetables to U.S. supermarkets.

It was made of steel bollards that were built before former President
Donald Trump blanketed much of the border with taller barriers that go
deeper into the ground. Photos show a panel of eight steel poles was
lifted out and left on the ground in the desert next to an old tire and
other debris.

“Human smugglers have proven time and again they have little regard for
human life,” Bovino said. “Those who may be contemplating crossing the
border illegally should pause to think of the dangers that all too often
end in tragedy, tragedies our Border Patrol Agents and first responders
are unfortunately very familiar with.”

The breach occurred in a busy area for illegal crossings near the Imperial
Sand Dunes where migrants often climb over an aging barrier and wait for
drivers to pick them up, hoping to avoid the scrutiny of Border Patrol
agents at checkpoints on highways leading to Los Angeles, San Diego and
Phoenix.

A pandemic-related measure that allows the Border Patrol to expel people
without an opportunity to seek asylum potentially leads some to try to
evade authorities instead of surrendering, sometimes with fatal
consequences. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
introduced expulsion powers nearly a year ago under Trump, and the Biden
administration has signaled no plans to lift them anytime soon.

The cause of Tuesday's collision wasn't yet known, authorities said. The
Expedition is built to hold eight people safely, but smugglers are known
to pack people into vehicles in extremely unsafe conditions to maximize
their profits.

Seats in the SUV had been removed except for those for the driver and
front passenger, said Omar Watson, chief of the California Highway
Patrol’s border division.

The crash happened in an area that became a major route for illegal border
crossings in the late 1990s after heightened enforcement in San Diego
pushed migrants to more remote areas.

Barely a mile from the crash, there is a cemetery with rows of unmarked
bricks that is a burial ground for migrants who died crossing the border.

In 2001, John Hunter founded Water Station, a volunteer group that leaves
jugs of water in giant plastic drums for dehydrated migrants.

“I was trying to figure out how to stop the deaths,” said Hunter, whose
brother Duncan strongly advocated for border wall construction as a
congressman.

Illegal crossings in the area fell sharply in the mid-2000s but the area
has remained a draw for migrants and was a priority for wall construction
under Trump. His administration's first wall project was in Calexico.

When police arrived Tuesday at the crash site about 125 miles (200
kilometers) east of San Diego, some passengers were trying to crawl out of
the crumpled SUV. Others were wandering around the nearby fields. The big
rig’s front end was pushed into the SUV’s left side and two empty trailers
were jackknifed behind it.

The men and women in the SUV ranged in age from 15 to 53, and those who
survived had injuries that were minor to severe, including fractures and
head trauma, officials said. The driver was from Mexicali, Mexico, just
across the border, and was among those killed.

The 68-year-old driver of the big rig, who is from the nearby California
community of El Centro, suffered moderate injuries.

The crash occurred around 6:15 a.m. under a clear, sunny sky at an
intersection just outside the community of Holtville, about 11 miles (18
kilometers) north of the border. Authorities said the tractor-trailer was
heading north on a highway when the SUV pulled in front of it from a road
with a stop sign.

It’s not clear if the SUV ran the stop sign or had stopped before entering
the highway. How fast both vehicles were going also wasn't yet known.

A 1997 Ford Expedition can carry a maximum payload of 2,000 pounds. If it
had 25 people inside, that would easily exceed the payload limit, taxing
the brakes and making it tougher to steer the vehicle, said Frank Borris,
former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office
of Defects Investigation.

“You’re going to have extended stopping distances, delayed reactions to
steering inputs and potential overreaction to any type of high-speed lane
change,” said Borris, who now runs a safety consulting business.

___

Associated Press reporters Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles, Julie Watson in
San Diego, Anita Snow in Phoenix, Tom Krisher in Detroit and Mark
Stevenson in Mexico City contributed.



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President Trump boosted the economy, reduced illegal invasions, appointed
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