Advocates Push for Extension of Immigrant Work Permits Post-Baltimore Bridge
Advocates Push for Extension of Immigrant Work Permits Post-Baltimore Bridge Tragedy Mandel NGAN/AFP

The FBI has opened a criminal probe into the collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key bridge, in which six Latino workers were killed after a ship crashed into the infrastructure.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that federal agents boarded the Dali ship with search warrants to conduct "court authorized law enforcement activity."

People familiar with the issue told the outlet that the investigation will look into the events that led to the moment when the ship led the port.

One goal will be determining whether the crew knew about the ship's problems that rendered it unsafe to travel and led it to crash about half an hour later.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott also said on Monday that his administration is taking "legal steps" to "launch legal action to hold the wrongdoers responsible and to mitigate the immediate and long-term harm caused to Baltimore City residents."

"The City of Baltimore will take decisive action to hold responsible all entities accountable for the Key Bridge tragedy, including the owner, charterer, manager/operator, and the manufacturer of the M/V Dali, as well as any other potentially liable third parties," the mayor said in a statement.

Eight Latino migrant workers hailing from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, were filling potholes on the bridge in the early hours of March 26 when a cargo ship crashed into a support pillar, resulting in its immediate collapse. Only two men survived.

Nearly 40% of the construction workforce in the Washington region is made up of immigrants, according to CASA, an immigrant rights group based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Workers in the construction and extraction industries had the second most fatalities in 2022, with 1,056 fatalities across the country, followed by transportation and material moving workers, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released in December.

Other tragedies involving Hispanic construction workers have taken place this year. In another Maryland town, at least three Latinos were among the six construction workers fatally struck by two drivers while in a construction zone. Two months ago in Idaho, three construction workers, two of which were from Guatemala, were killed in a building collapse in Boise.

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