President Biden responds to criticism as death toll rises for migrants found in semi-trailer

President Joe Biden has shot back at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott after Abbott blamed him for the deaths of 51 migrants who were found in a semi-trailer near San Antonio on Monday.

“These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott said in a Tweet on Monday. “They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

Biden responded to the criticism, saying in a statement issued shortly after he landed in Madrid for a NATO summit: “Exploiting vulnerable individuals for profit is shameful, as is political grandstanding around tragedy.”

He referred the blame back to the “smugglers or human traffickers who have no regard for the lives they endanger and exploit to make a profit.”

“This incident underscores the need to go after the multi-billion dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants and leading to far too many innocent deaths,” he continued. “In Los Angeles two weeks ago, I announced that the United States has launched a first-of-its kind anti-smuggling campaign with our regional partners. In the first three months, we have made over 2,400 arrests, and that work will only intensify in the months ahead.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said shortly after news of the deaths broke out: “The fact of the matter is the border is closed which is in part why you see people trying to make this dangerous journey using smuggling networks.”

The press secretary said that Biden, who is currently traveling in Europe for G7 and NATO meetings, had been briefed on the situation and was getting regular updates. “We will continue to take action to disrupt human smuggling networks which have no regard for lives they exploit and endanger in order to make a profit,” she added.



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