Op-Ed: The Heartbreaking Loss of Migrant Lives in Texas Tragedy | CNN
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Op-Ed: The Heartbreaking Loss of Migrant Lives in Texas Tragedy

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LIRS In CNN: The heartbreaking deaths of 53 migrants seeking a better life, and how the US can prevent future tragedies

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah is the president and chief executive of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She previously served as a senior adviser at the State Department and as a policy director in the Obama administration. The views expressed here are her own.

The nation was shocked when 53 migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer nearly 150 miles north of the US border with Mexico last week, with more than a dozen survivors, including four children, rushed to nearby hospitals to fight for their lives. It was a grisly, horrifying scene — unimaginable to most Americans, who simply cannot fathom the desperation of those who would embark on such a treacherous journey.

But those who have closely monitored border policy in recent years likely saw the tragedy for what it was: another horrific, preventable loss of life driven by our nation’s failure to establish a humane asylum system or an efficient immigration framework.

When there are no other options, people will take desperate measures to protect their families from the gang violence, persecution, climate disaster and extreme poverty ravaging Central America. And thanks to draconian, misguided policies, there is simply no way to seek asylum in this country — a fundamental human right enshrined in domestic and international law.

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Krish also joined MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart to discuss the tragedy in Texas, the fatal consequences of deterrence-based immigration policy, and how the US can implement solutions that benefit both Americans and people desperately seeking safety here.

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