While officials have said it could possibly take weeks to identify all 53 victims from this past week’s horrific tragedy in San Antonio, some are now publicly known. Two of the youngest were just 13, The Washington Post reports.
Pascual Melvin Guachiac Sipac and Juan Wilmer Tulul Tepaz, Indigenous cousins from Guatemala, started their journey just over two weeks ago. Pascual was seeking to reunite with his dad in the U.S., the report said. But on Wednesday, Pascual’s mother got a phone call telling her that her child was dead. “She still has his last message to her on her phone: ‘Mom, today they are taking me in a trailer,’” the report said.
Others were selflessly seeking better lives for their loved ones. Univision reports that 24-year-old Margie Tamara Paz Grajera, originally from Honduras, left for the U.S. to earn money to pay for her mother’s cancer treatment. Paz Grajera worked in a call center but didn’t earn enough to pay for the roughly $8,000 surgery. “She would always say, ‘I need to work so you can get your operation,’” her mother said in Spanish-language remarks.
Karen Caballero, also from Honduras, lost two sons in tragedy. NBC News reports that Fernando José Redondo Caballero and Alejandro Miguel Andino Caballero “had been eager about going north to find work.” Andino Caballero’s wife, Margie Tamara Paz, was also traveling with them. “The Honduran government said identification documents belonging to the three of them were found among the bodies in the truck,” the report continued. “They were 19 and 22, their mom said.” Paz was 24.
One of the last things that Caballero said to her sons before they left was that she wanted them to make it. “I hope you triumph,” she said in the report.
Others have no information at all about their loved ones, or even confirmation that they were in the truck. Yolanda Olivares Ruiz told The Washington Post that she sold her house to raise the $10,000 that the smuggler was demanding to transport her two sons, 16-year-old Yovani Valencia Olivares and 19-year-old Jair Valencia Olivares, from Mexico to the U.S. Olivares Ruiz said that the last messages she got from her sons were that they had made it across the Rio Grande and were waiting at a warehouse in Texas to be picked up. “Since that last message, they have not replied to desperate calls and countless texts,” the report said.
“We don’t know anything about them. The uncertainty is killing us,” she said in the report. “I have no tears left.”
Advocates have for years stressed that anti-immigrant policies along the southern border purposefully lead to death, because they force migrants to take riskier routes and journeys. “Immigration advocates say deterrent policies like ‘Remain in Mexico’ and Title 42 have pushed migrants to seek dangerous forms of migration, and risk their lives in the process,” Alexandra Martinez recently reported for Prism.
The administration has a monumental chance to begin reversing deadly policy following a surprising decision from the Supreme Court ruling that the president lawfully ended the anti-asylum Remain in Mexico policy. While experts say that anti-immigrant Republicans are sure to continue fighting to keep it alive, the ruling at least doesn’t completely shut down the administration, and means that an end to the policy could still be possible. Hopefully sooner rather than later, because we have seen these are matters of life and death.
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