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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Environment > Death Alone Doesn’t Separate Families of Dead Mexican Miners

Death Alone Doesn’t Separate Families of Dead Mexican Miners

LatinaLista — The deaths of the six miners in Utah’s Crandall Canyon Mine was a heartbreaking tragedy.
But what may be worse for the families is that the search has been called off without ever recovering their bodies.
For the families of Kerry Allred, Don Erickson, Manuel Sanchez and Brandon Phillips, the mountain tomb will be as close as they will ever get to their loved ones.

Families of trapped Utah miners hold press conference early in search operations.
(Source: chinapost.com)

But for the families of Luis Hernandez and Carlos Payan, their families will be separated by more than just rocks and dirt — they will be separated by a zero tolerance immigration policy that doesn’t recognize occupational deaths as a worthy reason to breach the border.


Reports out of Utah say that officials are trying to help the families move on in the healing process. Of all the families who refused to give up on the men, authorities say that Luis and Carlos’ families were the ones who wouldn’t, couldn’t believe that their young men were gone.
Since neither of the families speak English, a former Baptist missionary who worked in Mexico, has been helping the families make sense of everything that is going on.
It hasn’t been easy.
Nor will it be easy when the families return to Mexico — and want to return in about two months to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos at the place where their sons/brothers are buried.
For anyone slightly familiar with Mexican culture then it’s known that Mexicans celebrate that day with picnics and mini celebrations at the gravesides of their loved ones.
It’s more than just tradition, it’s an expectation.
In this unforgiving climate of border security, we have to wonder if our government will be sensitive to the needs of these families to return to be close to the spirits of their men on this day or any day.
Somehow, from a government that tries to deport the undocumented spouses of soldiers either killed or missing in Iraq, there are low expectations that this will occur — or at least without a lot of interference being run on behalf of the families.
Right now, living on the wrong side of the border is the least of the worries of these families.
But one day it will be and now is the time to ensure that when these families want to come and visit their sons, they be allowed to without having to undergo undue bureaucracy each time.
It’s times like these that a line on a map or a fence along a river don’t mean a thing when you know a loved one is forever entombed on the other side.

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Comment(6)

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 5, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Shame on you for expoiting what is purely a mine disaster for the purpose of furthering your illegal alien agenda. The immigration laws have nothing to do with this mine disaster, but leave it to you to stretch it to a nexus. This is what I hate about illegal alien advocates, their lack of shame when it comes to their cause.

  • Avatar
    Marisa
    September 5, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    I wish you were right, Horace.
    However, past experience doesn’t bode well that these families will be allowed to come and visit when they want due precisely to what is happening with immigration crackdowns
    Do I have no shame in bringing up this perspective?
    Sure, I do — because it’s bound to come to fruition.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 5, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Marisa, If as much effort were put in pressuring Mexico for change from within, there would be no need for the tragic uprooting of Mexicans from their own country. Why is it that nothing is being done to incite activism within Mexico? This migration would never occur in the opposite direction under the same circumstances, because political activism would have everyone up in arms against the U.S. governement.
    This strategy of yours also neglects the rest of the Mexican population who rely on the handouts from their illegal alien relatives, relegating them to an undignified life.
    This passive acceptance on the part of the Mexican people gains no respect from the American people. I don’t understand why the onus is on the American people, when the root cause of illegal immigration is in Mexico.
    Don’t you see that people like Calderon are only trying to divert attention from his and his government’s failures by putting the onus on the U.S. Why else would he risk inciting the ire of the American people by making obviously outrageous (to Americans) speeches intended for his own. He’s actually making it harder for illegal alien Mexicans by making such inflammatory speeches. We would have to believe that he is an idiot or a fool to think he doesn’t understand that such language would do more than recruit more opponents of illegal immigration. His more recent speech alone probably recruited several thousand more citizens to the anti-illegal alien cause.

  • Avatar
    onus bonus
    September 5, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    i rarely comment but these comments merit some response.
    first of all the chickens have come home to roost.
    the american empire is near collapse mexicanoes are cheap and disposable population. much as the iraqis are disposable population much as the vietnamese, blah, blah. not to mention the native people of north america. you only see your walmart nation living in fear of the ‘other’. if you really want to be frightened just look in the mirror, look at the infrastructure, the health care, and the education. a backward nation preyed upon by china and indian savy. dont blame the exploited blame the corporations.
    just who is illegal.
    the southwest is mexican territory.
    you like bush see only john wayne and petreaus, a political hack.
    calderon is a client of the american corporations once he serves his purpose he will be on the dung heap like noriega.
    what you hate is the fact that you can no longer hide from the basis of your impotent empire – genocide and chattel slavery.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    September 5, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Oh, look it’s a bonifide reconquista! How dare you say that any part of the U.S. is Mexican territory! The blame is three-fold with this illegal immigration mess that we are in. It comprises our government, the corporations AND the illegals themselves.
    How dare you blame we Americans today for slavery or genocide. None of that happened under our watch or while we have been alive. We have done none of that! Maybe you should look at Mexico’s past then and your ancestors from Spain if you want to drag up the sins of the past. Are you responsible for their sins?

  • Avatar
    Horace
    September 6, 2007 at 9:33 am

    You’re right Frank, Mexico cannot take the moral high ground on exploitation and oppression of its people, as it is being done to this very day. One can only look at the direction of migration to show which country is superior in its treatment of its citizens. The reconquistas have to look to reforming the government in Mexico City before they get all righteous about the U.S.
    Spain the country that’s the mother to Mexico and its current population was at least as aggregious in its treatment of the indigenous population, if not moreso than our English ancestors. Forced conversions to Catholicism, torture for gold, collusion with idigenous Indians to wipe out tribes. I don’t think that the Spanish paid one cent to Central Americans for any of the land, they just took it. Hispanics have at least as much to be ashamed of in their history, if not more.

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