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.
But for the families of Luis Hernandez and Carlos Payan, their families will be separated by more than just rocks and dirt â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” 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.