Alonso Guillen died while trying to rescue victims of the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey north of Houston. He didn’t have to die. Guillen, 31, lived in Lufkin, TX, over 100 miles northeast of where he ultimately perished trying to save people.
But Guillen, who came to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager and was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, decided to head south with friends after Harvey hit to help out with a borrowed boat, the Houston Chronicle reported.
At about midnight on Wednesday, as the trio tried to reach an apartment building to rescue people inside, their boat hit an interstate bridge and capsized. One person managed to survive in the swift and perilous currents, but the other two, including Guillen, died, according to the newspaper.
As the Chronicle reported:
Guillen’s father, Jesus Guillen, said he’d asked his son not to try and rescue people in the storm, but he insisted, saying he wanted to help people. He cried and prayed on Sunday afternoon as they pulled his son’s body from the water.
Guillen’s mother, Rita Ruiz de Guillen, 62, lives 340 miles west of Houston, just across the U.S. border in Mexico. Upon learning of her son’s death, she tried to obtain a humanitarian visa to cross the border and bury her son, the Chronicle reported. But border agents turned her away.