San Antonio migrant victim’s family remembers their loved one

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - More and tragic new information is coming to light about the abandoned tractor-trailer that was found weeks ago in San Antonio, Texas with dozens of migrants dead inside.

A video recently surfaced of the stash house where the migrants were allegedly kept and it’s claimed they were held here in Laredo, Texas.

Julio Lopez was one of the migrants that was found dead in the tractor-trailer. His aunt, Maria de Jesus, said her nephew left La Trinitaria, Chiapas because of the extreme poverty in the town. In Spanish, Maria de Jesus said, “He said he was leaving because he couldn’t cover all of his expenses. He would work in one place and another and it wasn’t enough.” She says Julio would earn 300 to 800 pesos a week which is equivalent to $14 to $38 dollars a week. Julio had to cover his son’s medical expenses which left him with no choice but to come to the United States.

Julio’s mother helped him financially and he sold a property he had in town to cover the cost of getting smuggled. His family claims he crossed the Rio Grande through Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Trying to hold back tears, his wife, Adriana Gonzalez, said Julio was happy he had made it to the U.S. and kept frequent communication with her.

Julio shared a video of the alleged stash house in Laredo where he was kept for eight days before getting moved up north. His mother-in-law, Julia Hernandez, said the smuggler took away their personal belongings and Julio had no way of communicating with the outside world. Hernandez said, “He had been told he couldn’t have this phone. We didn’t have communication with Julio. We spoke to the smuggler asking if he was okay and he told us everything was fine.”

The family says they were lied to by the smuggler multiple times saying Julio was okay, the smuggler reassured the family and told them not to worry about Julio. Hernandez said, “[the smuggler]told us that they were going to cross them over when everything calmed down.” Julio’s ID card was found in the tractor-trailer leading his family to believe he was one of the victims.

San Antonio migrant victim’s family remembers their loved one
San Antonio migrant victim’s family remembers their loved one

Adriana, his wife, said, “My mom told me, ‘yes, it was your husband because he had a tattoo on his arm.’ He was one of the first ones that they identified.” This crushed the family, knowing that they had been lied to multiple times and their loved one was now one of the dozens found dead. The family says they try to deal with the pain daily.

So why risk the trip? The family says, their story is one of millions. They say if there were well-paying jobs in Chiapas many wouldn’t have to make the dangerous trek to provide necessities.

So far this fiscal year, the Laredo Sector Border Patrol has apprehended over 2,400 people in 125 stash houses across the city, which has been a decrease of 42% from last fiscal year.

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