HOUSTON – Immigrant Families and Students in the Fight (FIEL), an immigrant-led civil rights organization, hosted a candlelight vigil Tuesday for the victims of the San Antonio migrant tragedy.
The vigil was in support of the 51 people who lost their lives during a suspected migrant smuggling operation.
“What happened in San Antonio is not an accident nor was it necessary. What happened in San Antonio is a direct result of failed policies and failed promises. For years our community has been lied to about legal migration or ‘Pathways’ for people to migrate safely. Yet the US economy and in particular the state of Texas has benefited from these broken policies and broken promises. No, we do not have open borders if we did, 60-plus people would not have made the life-ending decision to come to the US in the back of an 18-wheeler and lose their lives in the process. We need democrats republicans and everyone else involved to stop the lies to stop calling this a crisis and then doing nothing about it. Our hearts ache for the men, women and children who perished in San Antonio and we are here to work to make sure that this never ever happens again. But until we fix this broken system it will happen again,” said Cesar Espinosa FIEL Executive Director.
Outside the FIEL headquarters parking lot, more than a dozen community community members stood together to pray and mourn the death of the 51 lives that were lost. All of the attendees wore white, lit candles and made 51 posters to honor the lives of the dead.
“They did this to get a better life, to get the dream,” said Melody Alanis, a FIEL intern.
“This is not an open borders issue, this is a result of failed policies by both Democrats and Republicans,” Espinosa said. “Nobody has had the guts to fix our broken immigration system.”
Espinosa said FIEL Houston members will take those 51 posters to the memorial in San Antonio this week.
The bodies were discovered Monday afternoon on the outskirts of San Antonio when a city worker heard a cry for help from the truck parked on a lonely back road and found the gruesome scene inside, Police Chief William McManus said. Hours later, body bags lay spread on the ground.
More than a dozen people — their bodies hot to the touch — were taken to hospitals, including four children.
Forty-six people were found dead at the scene, authorities said. Four more later died after being taken to hospitals, said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, the county’s top elected official. Among the dead were 39 males and 11 females, he said.