Building Bridges, Not Walls: Immigrant Communities Honor Six Workers Killed in Key Bridge Collapse

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Search and rescue teams have recovered the bodies of two men from the Patapsco River following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, but four others remain missing and are presumed dead. All six victims were immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, part of a road crew that was filling potholes on the bridge when a cargo ship ran into one of the bridge supports, causing the entire structure to drop into the water. “The construction workers are absolutely essential,” says Gustavo Torres, executive director of the immigrant rights group CASA, which counted two of the victims as members. “Immigrants face higher injury and death rates … than nonimmigrants, and they are significantly less likely to have insurance.” He says the disaster has highlighted the difficult, often dangerous work done by immigrants in communities across the United States, and calls on political leaders to stop dehumanizing rhetoric. “What we need right now is comprehensive immigration reform. We don’t need more attacks against the immigrant community.”

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