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Migrant tragedy closer to Ohio than geography suggests

Thousands of migrant workers have found their home in Ohio, even though their travels began south of the U.S. border.

CLEVELAND — A memorial with roses lined up and bottles of water honor the 53 lives lost in a tractor trailer left out in above 100 degree temperatures in San Antonio. 

The people inside were believed to be asylum seekers from Latin America who were brought over the border illegally.

While this case took place in Texas, that doesn't mean it's where the migrants might have ended up.

"It's just a repeat of tragedies that have occurred right along that line, people stuck in trailers and things smothered to death," Baldemar Velasquez is President of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee said.

FLOC is under the AFL-CIO and helps migrants regardless of status here in Ohio. 

The Ohio Department of Health has 5,600 migrants working in licensed camps across the state, but he estimates the actual number to be far higher.

"We have 8 to 10,000 undocumented immigrants in Toledo alone, imagine Cleveland and Columbus," Velasquez said.

He says this deadly method of bringing people here isn't new and has a history that goes well beyond recent memory.

"This is an ongoing tragedy that's been going on time and time again, even going as far back as the 40s and 50s," Velasquez said.

He hopes more people would educate themselves on who migrants are and what they do in the United States.

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