Politics

Open Borders Advocates and Media Weaponize Deaths of Six Immigrant Workers Killed in Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse

While Baltimore and the nation are dealing with the collapse on Tuesday of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Harbor following the allision of the Dali cargo ship into a support beam that resulted in the blocking of a major port and hazmat/commuter route (I-695), open borders advocates and some in the media are weaponizing the tragic deaths of the six road workers killed in the incident to score political points.

A crew of eight men filling potholes on the bridge were reportedly on a break in their cars parked on the bridge when the Dali struck at 1:27 a.m. EDT. One of the victims is said to have lived in the United States for 19 years, another for 17 years, however all six have been referred to in press reports as ‘migrants’ or ‘immigrants’ from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The immigration status of the men has not been generally reported, however Voice of America reported one entered the U.S. illegally.

Of the two workers who survived and were rescued soon after the bridge fell, one was hospitalized and has since been released, while the second is reported to have refused being taken to the hospital. Two bodies have been recovered and four are still missing.

Six construction workers were killed when a cargo ship struck Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday, sending the workers into the water below, officials said.

Here’s what we know so far about the victims: https://t.co/HpRvQzWHZE pic.twitter.com/g3WTA6T2fv

— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2024

The crew worked for Brawner Builders. Co-worker Jesus Campos spoke to reporters in Spanish, saying he had recently switched shifts and missed the incident:

Jose Campos, who works for Brawner Builders, says a shift change saved him from being on the Key Bridge this morning.
More: https://t.co/RSNWAp72oY pic.twitter.com/0luUw6HQ0X

— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) March 26, 2024

Jesus Campos, originally of El Salvador, works for Brawner Builders. He says his coworkers are the ones missing. He is shocked and devastated for his friends. pic.twitter.com/O243cAjgWV

— Emily Hofstaedter (@EHofstaedter) March 26, 2024

A common theme used by advocates was that the immigrant workers died doing a job that Americans will not do.

Journalist Geraldo Rivera posted on X Twitter, “…the migrants were doing a dirty, dangerous job no citizen wanted…”

“When the Key Bridge collapsed at 1:27am Tuesday morning, an overnight road crew filling potholes on the bridge died with it.-The crew consisted of 6 apparently Undocumented Hispanic Immigrants, aka Illegal Aliens, from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.-They drowned in the cold, murky water of Baltimore Harbor. -There was no outrage from conservative media about them stealing jobs from citizens; because, as they often do, the migrants were doing a dirty, dangerous job no citizen wanted. An estimated 1/3 of our nation’s construction workers are undocumented immigrants. -According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022 316 foreign-born, mostly undocumented Hispanic construction workers perished on the job.-Say their names. Maynor, Miguel, Dorlian, José, Alejandro.”

When the Key Bridge collapsed at 1:27am Tuesday morning, an overnight road crew filling potholes on the bridge died with it.
-The crew consisted of 6 apparently Undocumented Hispanic Immigrants, aka Illegal Aliens, from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
-They drowned…

— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 28, 2024

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (via translation), “The death of migrants due to the fall of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, “demonstrates that migrants are going to do midnight, risky work and that is why they do not deserve to be treated as often happens with some irresponsible politicians,” responded #AMLO”

La muerte de migrantes por caída de puente Francis Scott Key en Baltimore, “demuestra que los migrantes van a hacer trabajos a media noche, riesgosos y que por eso no merecen ser tratados como suele pasar con algunos políticos irresponsables”, respondió #AMLO.… pic.twitter.com/pFsumUp51D

— Manuel Galeazzi (@ManuelGaleazz1R) March 27, 2024

Reuters: “Baltimore bridge disaster: immigrants died doing job ‘others do not want to do”

Baltimore bridge disaster: immigrants died doing job ‘others do not want to do’ https://t.co/kwKik54gSb pic.twitter.com/WhUB9DboUy

— Reuters (@Reuters) March 28, 2024

Reuters excerpt:

They came to the United States for a chance at a better life. They found work filling pot holes on a bridge in the middle of the night, and they ended up dead in the Baltimore harbor.

The six victims of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse were all immigrants from Mexico and Central America, doing the kind of grueling work that many immigrants take on, when a container ship crashed into a support pillar at 1:30 a.m. EST (sic) on Tuesday and sent them plunging into the icy Patapsco River.

Divers pulled the bodies of Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes and Dorlian Castillo from a red pickup truck 25 feet underwater the following day.

Four are missing and presumed dead: Maynor Suazo from Honduras; Jose Lopez from Guatemala; Miguel Luna from El Salvador; and another whose name has not been released. Another two workers were rescued.

…”One of the reasons Latinos were involved in this accident is because Latinos do the work that others do not want to do. We have to do it, because we come here for a better life. We do not come to invade the country,” said Lucia Islas, president of Comité Latino de Baltimore, a nonprofit group.

Maryland State Delegate Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk (D), a native of the Dominican Republic, “These men chose Maryland as their home and took on jobs many of us wouldn’t dream of doing. These men from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico represent what makes our country great: people willing to sacrifice, & build communities. #Immigrants”

These men chose Maryland as their home and took on jobs many of us wouldn’t dream of doing. These men from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico represent what makes our country great: people willing to sacrifice, & build communities. #Immigrants https://t.co/zwH8osn7QG

— Del. J. Peña-Melnyk (@JPenaMelnyk) March 27, 2024

Axios: “The deaths of four construction workers in the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge highlights the essential role of immigrants in the U.S. labor force and the risks they face.”

The deaths of four construction workers in the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge highlights the essential role of immigrants in the U.S. labor force and the risks they face. https://t.co/QDwPhQYJuP

— Axios (@axios) March 28, 2024

Note: One year ago almost to the day, March 22, 2023, six road workers were killed on I-695 in Baltimore (WBAL-TV excerpt). That crew was a mix of Hispanic and non-Hispanic workers:

Rolando Ruiz, 46, of Laurel
Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, 43, of Frederick
Jose Armando Escobar, 52, of Frederick
Mahlon Simmons III, 31, of Union Bridge
Mahlon Simmons II, 52, of Union Bridge
Sybil Lee Dimaggio, 46, of Glen Burnie

…Six people were killed Wednesday afternoon in a crash on the westside of the Baltimore Beltway in Woodlawn.

According to Maryland State Police, troopers were called around 12:40 p.m. for reports of a pedestrian struck at a work zone on the Inner Loop of the Beltway near Security Boulevard.

Gustavo Torres, executive director of the Maryland based pro-illegal immigration group CASA spoke to NPR host Debbie Elliott about the challenges immigrants, legal and illegal, face and urged Joe Biden to pass amnesty (excerpt):

ELLIOTT: You know, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that up to a third of construction workers in 2020 were Hispanic, and many are foreign-born, and that they are at particular risk of fatal injuries because of the type of work that they do. How does this show up in the challenges that workers in your group face?

TORRES: Yeah, that is really, really a reality. In particularly the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore metro area, we have around 130,000 immigrants who work in this essential work. And we see – all the time see these kind of accidents. In fact, almost a year ago to the date of the bridge collapse and also on the 695 highway, six highway construction workers, half of them Latinos, were killed in Maryland after being struck by a speeding car. So that is the kind of situation that we see all the time. And they are people who are undocumented or they have TPS, which is a legal status – they cannot qualify to become U.S. citizens.

ELLIOTT: You’re talking about temporary protected status.

TORRES: And that is, in part, the reasons why they feel these kind of challenges, because they don’t have health insurance and they are very scared to report. So that is the kind of the situation that we face in the D.C. area and beyond.

ELLIOTT: Now, in addition to the victims and their families, there must be many more immigrants among the 15,000 people who work at the Port of Baltimore, for example. How does this tragedy affect the larger immigrant community in the region?

TORRES: It’s huge. I mean, it’s a big impact. And again, it’s because the way – how we feel right now, we feel under attack. As you know, it’s a lot of attacks to the immigrant community all the time. And we are scared, and people are scared. I know that people are super scared about this, and this kind of tragic is bringing more additional pain to our community. But it’s a community who are ready to keep fighting, a community who really, really want to make a difference in this country. And we are going to keep moving forward and make sure that we are going to finally one day pass immigration reform, or at least TPS. And the President Biden had that power to be able to provide legal status for our families.

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