At least 10 people were killed after a passenger van suspected of transporting two dozen undocumented migrants was in a road accident in Texas on Wednesday, state officials and a witness said.
Texas Department of Public Security troopers said they were investigating a “major crash” near Falfurrias, a few miles from the Mexican border in the state's south-east.
A Ford passenger van was speeding north on a motorway when, a witness said, around 4pm, the driver “veered off the roadway, striking a metal utility pole and a stop sign".
“The driver and nine passengers were pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash,” the Texas Highway Patrol said in a statement.
Brooks County Sheriff Urbino Martinez said there were 30 people in the vehicle at the time of the accident, The New York Times reported.
“It appears that they are undocumented immigrants, but we have to work with consulates,” Department of Public Security spokesman Sgt Nathan Brandley told AFP.
Earlier, the department said that 20 people had been transferred to hospital following the crash.
Smugglers often use overcrowded vehicles to ship migrants from the border.
In March, a reported smuggler was charged after 13 people died in a collision between a lorry and a crowded vehicle in southern California.
Migrant arrivals to the US had declined markedly at the onset of the pandemic but began to pick up slightly in 2020, before surging since President Joe Biden took office.
Republicans have accused Mr Biden of causing the spike in arrivals by relaxing the migration policies imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump.