People in southwest San Antonio gathered outside of the Walmart parking lot on Wednesday night, where a sweltering truck with people inside was found over the weekend. A vigil remembered those who lost their lives in pursuit of the American dream.
As for those lucky enough to survive the harrowing journey, they find themselves in yet another difficult situation, in jail.
Attorney Michael McCrum has been appointed to represent the 13 victims in the tragedy who could now testify against the driver of the semi-trailer, James Bradley.
“They are detained as prisoners," McCrum said. “They will ask me frequently, ‘Well, when can I get out?’ And I say, 'Well, when the government is done using you as a witness.'”
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Mccrum explained that the smuggling victims are being held as material witnesses, something he calls a severe consequence. He said that once the case is over, they could be deported back to Mexico. There’s also a chance that they'll get to stay in the U.S for some time.
“These people are now helping the government in its prosecution of really bad people,” he said. “What the government does in exchange for that is allow these people to stay under an authorized work visa for a year or two or longer."
While it will be awhile before we know the fate of the victims, at the vigil Wednesday night, prayers were offered for the dead, their families, and the survivors who are still recovering in the hospital.