Mexican-born US immigrant Alonso Guillen died a hero this week after he risked his life to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. Days later, when his body was recovered, President Donald Trump announced that he’ll kill DACA.
Guillen came to American as a teenager from Mexico, despite not being a US citizen he had a work permit and protection from immediate deportation as he was part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (aka DACA).
Established in 2012 by President Barack Obama, the policy allowed certain illegal immigrants (i.e. those on good behaviour) who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and be eligible for a work permit.
However as part of President Trump’s pledge to quell the influx of illegal immigrants currently in the USA he decided to roll back on the scheme setup by Obama which helped keep Guillen, and many others like him, in the country.
Last week, the 31-year-old DJ headed south from his home in Lufkin, Texas, with a borrowed boat to help aid the victims caught up in the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. According to The Huston Chronicle the boat, which also had two of his friends inside, hit a bridge and capsized during midnight on a Wednesday.
One of them was rescued but the body of the other rescuer, Tomas Carreon Jr. was recovered two days later.
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Guillen’s body was found two days afterwards on the banks of Cypress Creek. His father, who is a legal permanent resident, wept as they pulled his son’s body out of the water. Just a few hours beforehand Trump was announcing that he would be shutting down DACA.
However, many Republicans – including those keen on cracking down on illegal immigration – have urged Trump not to bring an end to Obama-era policy.
Speaker Of The House, Paul Ryan has said:
… there needs to be a legislative solution … these are kids that know no other country
It’s unknown how Guillen got across the Mexican boarder into America but the timing of his death and Trump’s decision to end DACA only brings a spotlight to Guillen’s sacrifice and more criticism on Trump’s administration.
Rita Ruiz de Guillen, Alonso’s mother, currently lives in Piedras Negras, Mexico and was denied entry into the US to attend her son’s funeral despite trying to apply for a temporary visa.
However last Monday the customs and border agency claimed she had not applied for temporary admission into the US.
In a statement on Twitter the agency said they have “offered to work with the Mexican Consulate and non-governmental agencies” so she “attend her son’s funeral”.
We offer our condolences to Alonso Guillen’s family, a rescue volunteer who died during Hurricane Harvey. Response to media reports below. pic.twitter.com/UkXKXakcSS
— CBP (@CustomsBorder) September 4, 2017
Trump’s bid to end DACA could effect nearly 800,000 Mexicans – also known as ‘Dreamers’ – who are protected by the act and have made a life in the United States.
Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston, Texas this August and has caused 65 confirmed deaths in the United States and one in Guyana.