Migrants seen still entering US as Mexico starts to receive bodies of smuggling victims

Photos along the US-Mexico border show droves of illegal immigrants continuing to stream into the United States - as the first bodies of 53 migrants found dead in a Texas truck last month have been returned to their homeland. Exclusive photos obtained by The Post show waves of migrants crossing the Rio Grande Wednesday in Piedras Negras, Mexico, en route to the US border. The scores of men, women and children were later intercepted by US Customs and Border Protection agents.

The unauthorized border crossings came as a Mexican air force plane landed near Mexico City on Wednesday carrying eight bodies of the 53 migrants found dead last month. Authorities said they were found in a sealed tractor-trailer in San Antonio amid temps of more than 103 degrees. The bodies of three teens, who were cousins, were among the 26 Mexicans who died of heat and dehydration inside the trailer abandoned by smugglers.

Brothers Jair and Yovani Valencia Olivares, 19 and 16, were among the victims, as well as their cousin, 16-year-old Misael Olivares. At least one more flight is planned for Thursday. Mexico's foreign affairs ministry said late Wednesday 25 of Mexico's victims would be repatriated, citing their families' wishes.

The unauthorized border crossings came as a Mexican air force plane landed near Mexico City on Wednesday while carrying eight bodies of the 53 migrants found dead last month. The unauthorized border crossings came as a Mexican air force plane landed near Mexico City on Wednesday carrying eight bodies of the 53 migrants found dead last month.James Keivom

Other victims were expected to be returned to their homelands in coming days, including Guatemala and Honduras, from where 21 and six migrants killed in the truck hailed, respectively.

Of the 53 victims, 10 were teens, including the Olivareses, who are set to be buried on Friday. Hundreds of mourners descended upon the family's house Wednesday in San Marcos Atexquilapan in eastern Mexico, where the teens played on a local soccer team. "I can't accept it," Yolanda Valencia said, according to the Associated Press, adding that her sons wanted to open a shoe store. "They went with a lot of goals that weren't realized."

Harrowing photos showed mourners sobbing as the teens' bodies arrived at the home. One man held his head directly against one of their caskets.

Parents Yolanda Olivares and Teofilo Valencia at the wake of their late sons Jair Valencia, 19, Yovani Valencia, on Wednesday.Parents Yolanda Olivares and Teofilo Valencia at the wake of their sons, Jair Valencia, 19, and Yovani Valencia, 16, on Wednesday.REUTERS

The photos of migrants streaming into the US comes as President Biden's administration prepares to release the number of encounters recorded along the US-Mexico border in June later this week. Lawmakers in Texas, meanwhile, have accused Biden of enabling the unabated crossings while calling on the White House to stop the border crisis.

US Customs and Border Protection officials reported 239,416 encounters in May, which is a record for the southern border.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer plays a game with migrant children after they crossed the border on July 13, 2022 in Eagle Pass, Texas. A US Customs and Border Protection officer plays a game with migrant children after they crossed the border on July 13, 2022, in Eagle Pass, Texas.James KeivomThe photos of migrants streaming into the US comes as President Joe Biden's administration readies to release the number of encounters recorded along the US-Mexico border in June later this week. The photos of migrants streaming into the US come as President Biden's administration readies to release the number of encounters recorded along the US-Mexico border in June later this week.James Keivom

The migrants crossed into the US just days after photos obtained by The Post showed a Highway Patrol officer directing two young boys, who appeared to be brothers, to a gap in the fence overseen by the National Guard in Eagle Pass, Texas. Another heart-wrenching shot showed them sitting on a cooler and scarfing down snacks on the American side of the border -- while the older one stared into the distance with his arm draped over the younger one's shoulders.

The elder boy was photographed later helping a Border Patrol agent load the smaller boy into a green-and-white van so they could be taken with other migrants to a nearby processing center.

The bodies of three teens, all of whom were cousins, were among the 26 Mexicans who died of heat and dehydration inside the trailer abandoned by smugglers. The bodies of three teens, who were cousins, were among the 26 Mexicans who died of heat and dehydration inside the trailer abandoned by smugglers.REUTERS

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order last week authorizing the National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest immigrants who illegally cross the border between ports of entry and return them to Mexico. Legal analysts, however, say the order isn't likely to withstand a legal challenge.

Four people, including the truck driver, have been arrested in the alleged smuggling ring.

Driver Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, has been charged with transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison or death.

With Post wires