SUV crash carrying 25 migrants highlights danger, desperation of crossing into the US

Thirteen of the 25 undocumented immigrants in the SUV died when the vehicle crashed into a semitruck. The father of a woman who died said that she’d been threatened by gangs.
6:10 | 04/09/21

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Transcript for SUV crash carrying 25 migrants highlights danger, desperation of crossing into the US
Reporter: At first it appeared to be a standard, fatal, tragic accident. An SUV and truck colliding in this desert and then the heart stopping report. A semitruck colliding with an SUV, packed with more than two dozen people. Reporter: Ask the chief told me, it's unfathomable how 25 people were crammed in one SUV that are supposed to fit nine people safely. We need as many ambulances as you can send right now. Reporter: Dozens of people packed in the vehicle, andsuddenly this story was so much more. The fire department had to cut the right front seat out of the vehicle to help get people out of the vehicle. And in examining that after they hae done that, we do see that there are not seats in the rest of the vehicle. Reporter: First responders combing through the wreckage, that SUV carrying 25 undocumented migrants, all of them victims of the accident. Men, women and children from places in Latin America, departing together from maxicali, Mexico. Some were ejected so it's a chaotic scene. Range of injuries are head traumas, a lot of on orthopaedics injuries. A lot of them were confused and some talked and were able to communicate to us a bit of a story. Reporter: Along the U.S. Border the moment of impact reportedly a mere 15 miles where the SUV burst through a hole in the bored fence, they appeared to be in a frenzied desperate push for new lives in the U.S. The migrants had paid up to $10,000 each to be smuggled across the border. This tragedy once again high lying the danger of lives dangling in the balance of a flawed immigration system. Had in tend, 13 people all of them from inside the SUV died. The New York Times would put faces and names to several of those victims and the families now picking up the pieces on both sides of the border. One of the deceased, a 23-year-old law student. Her father a construction worker in New York telling the "Times," he was unaware she made the trimpt the reason, she was getting threats from gangs. And one of the survivors, Jose Martinez, staples holding his wounds closed, heading to Utah to work with his uncle. The boy's uncertain journey to the U.S. A long one and his road to recovery much longer. Earlier this evening I spoke with the photo journalist and New York Times national immigration correspondent, who chronicled the stories of those killed in the crash. Thank you both so much for joining us. Our pleasure. Let me start with you, Miriam, the images of Jose are so disturbing and I understand from your reporting he tried many times to cross the border. Tell us about his life before the crash and what it says about the people fleeing to the borderer now? Right, Jose was the most moving character whom I met as I reported the story. He is just 16 years old. He comes from a village in Mexico where his mom, brother, live in a one-room hut. They have nothing to their names. He wanted to help his family. So he arranged to come to America, and work in Utah in construction and this happened. What is his prognosis, will he stay in the states? Well, it's not clear whether he will be able to stay her long-term. But many people who do cooperate with authorities investigating crimes have an opportunity to apply for a witness protection kind of Visa. And these 25 people did not climb in the SUV on their own and this crash in many ways shows the light on the human smuggling that happens. Absolutely, human smuggling enterprises are well and thriving along the border. You know, there's a lot of dispair now, the pandemic has ravaged economies in the developing world. People are looking to come to this country and often do W ans might not want to do. Arianna, as a photo journalist, tell us why it's so stirring, the father holding the iPhone with his daughter's picture in it. She looked like a woman with so much promise. That picture was taken, and the reason is, it puts a face to the name. Right. So, a lot of times when you hear about migrants, people trying to seek a better future in the U.S. And then getting killed, or dying in tragic accidents. You know, it's not just a name. Right. It's a face. And I think that's why it was impact. Miriam, we were talking about Jose Martinez, he is just 18 and he told his mother there's no future in Mexico and I want to work in the U.S. To support my family. What show, this recent surge, this human tide of miserry? He is a symbol of all the teenagers who are, you know, flooding the border now, you know, they are fleeing violence, they are fleeing poverty. You know, they are looking for opportunity. And do many of them have family in the United States who are prepared to receive them. So, Jose knowing that he uncle who had come here many years ago. He wanted to give it a try as well. Well, ladies thank you both for your reporting and for joining us tonight with your insights. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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