TYLER, Texas — The bodies of 51 migrants inside the back of a parked tractor trailer in San Antonio is raising safety concerns for immigrants crossing the border. Following the tragedy, a local immigrant resource center said it's time for the nation to discuss immigration reform.
Paulina Pedroza, a Tyler resident, said Tyler has a lot of people that are looking for opportunities.
"We need a path to citizenship," Pedroza said. "If we can give them that, we can succeed as a city."
Karen Jones with the East Texas Immigrant Advocacy and Resource Center said it starts with legislative change.
"The best thing for Congress to do would be for some solid immigration reform," Jones said.
Jones said many asylum-seekers aren't just looking for work.
"They want to become citizens," Jones said. "They want to be part of our community and we want them to."
The Hispanic community in Tyler also said seeing family would be easier and safer if the U.S lifted Title 42, a public health rule that gives federal health officials the authority to deny asylum-seekers during a pandemic.
"As a Hispanic community, we're really unified so with COVID... people [were] not able to see their families," Melissa Russell, of Tyler, said. "Lifting the restrictions is going to help bring everyone together."
The advocacy and resource center helps immigrants work toward citizenship by offering citizenship classes and resources.