DACA Recipient Who Died Trying To Rescue Fellow Americans Receives A Final Insult

Alonso Guillen

The two biggest news stories this week are arguably: Trump contemplating rescinding DACA, and, the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. One heroic man puts a human face on what Trump’s DACA decision would really do, and this man gave his life to try to rescue others in Houston last week: Alonso Guillen. A final insult, after the announcement to end the program that allowed Guillen to call those he died for “fellow Americans,” has now been delivered: his mother is being denied entry to the country for her sons funeral.

Alonso Guillen, a 31-year-old disc jockey from Lufkin, is an American hero and a DACA recipient who drowned when the borrowed boat he towed out to help rescue flood survivors hit a washed out bridge near Interstate 45 and Beltway 8 around midnight. Tomas Carreon Jr. was also killed in the accident and was found Friday. There was one survivor, who managed to cling to a tree.

Here is Guillen’s picture from journalist and editor, Kaz Weida:

“Meet Alonso Guillen, a DACA recipient who drowned rescuing others after Harvey. He’s a hero & an American and he belongs here. #SaveDACA”

Alonso’s body was recovered Sunday from a swift-moving creek by his relative only hours before the news arrived that Trump would probably rescind DACA, which had protected Alonso from deportation from Texas by giving him a work permit. Alonso had moved from Piedras Negras, Mexico as a teenager.

Guillen’s Father, Jesus, a permanent citizen, reportedly pleaded with his son not to try to go out and use the boat to rescue people, but Alonso insisted on helping people.

His mother, who has applied but does not yet have legal citizenship status, was heartbroken.

“I’ve lost a great son, you have no idea,” she said. “I’m asking God to give me strength.”

His mother also commented on the borders that separate her, even now, from her son:

“When we are with God, there are no borders,” said Rita Ruiz de Guillen. “Man made borders on this earth.”

Even though Alonso died trying to rescue fellow Hurrican Harvey victims, his mother was reportedly denied entry at Piedras Negras, Mexico by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. She only wants to go to her son’s burial with a humanitarian visa.

The ACLU remarked on Alonso’s life:

“Alonso Guillen was a Dreamer who gave his life trying to rescue people in Houston. Remember Alonso and #DefendDACA”

Some have commented on Twitter that honoring Alonso could be done if Congress passed a new DACA bill and named it for him. His heroic American spirit puts a face and name on the issue.

Please, consider if he had survived, that he would now be facing deportation from the country he has lived in most of his life. He is a perfect example of the type of person that truly makes America great. America should recognize the significance and contribution of people like Alonso, not turn their backs and sumarily reject their path to citizenship.

You may contribute to Alonso’s funeral arrangements On behalf of Jesus Guillen at the GoFundMe.

Featured image: Screenshot via Twitter

About Matthew Silvan 283 Articles
Matthew Silvan is a gay man from the American South who has spent years fighting against the scapegoating and demonization imposed on the LGBT community by Republicans and religious hypocrites and zealots. His writing reflects the constant struggle to overcome the inequality and discrimination still rampant in America. He is an advocate for diversity and progress, with a passion for nature and preserving the environment, who also tends to approach things in a lighthearted way despite it all.

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