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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Migrant worker advocate reacts to fatal crash in Imperial County

American Friends Service Committee director says workers need to be treated with dignity.

SAN DIEGO — News 8 spoke with the director of the American Friends Service Committee, a San Diego based nonprofit that advocates for humane conditions for immigrants and migrant workers in the United States.

Director Pedro Rios reacted to the fatal crash in Holtville that killed 13 people:

“It's a tragic incident overall and I can’t imagine what the family members will be going through once they realize that their family member, their loved one, lost their life in this terrible incident.

“Conditions are such that push people to seek very desperate measures to improve their lives, whether it's working in the fields or trying to cross into the U.S. for a better life for themselves and their family members.

“Whether it's farm workers or migrants that crossed the border through an unregulated way, they still are human beings that deserve to be treated with dignity, they are human beings that should have an ability to work and that work should be dignified.

“The fact that the border, right now, is closed for anyone who is seeking asylum has pushed many people to try to cross through the deserts and the mountains and oftentimes what that mean is that there is a vehicle that waits for them to pick them up.

“There needs to be immigration reform that deals with the issues of both people who are arriving at the border, as well as those who are already in the U.S. so that there is a dignified way of insuring that people are not being placed at risk.  This incident encapsulates how dangerous it is, whether an undocumented migrant or working in the fields, the risks are real.  They're there and they cause loss of life.”