HOUSTON, Texas — A volunteer rescuer died on his way to help flood victims from Hurricane Harvey. His family said he was a recipient of President Barrack Obama’s Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program.
Alonso Guillen, 31, died four days after Harvey slammed into the Texas coast, dropping up to 52 inches of rain in some parts of the state. He and two of his friends were en route with a boat to help rescue and evacuate flood victims, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Their truck struck a bridge over Cypress Creek and capsized, dumping the three men into the raging current. Witnesses report seeing one of the men clinging to a tree, but he eventually disappeared.
Guillen came to the U.S. as an illegal alien from Peidras Negras, Mexico, as a teenager. His family said he applied for and received a temporary status adjustment under the DACA program. His father is now a legal permanent resident, the family stated, and his mother is still in the Mexican border town awaiting the approval of an immigration application. The grieving mother, Rita Ruiz de Guillen, 62, is hoping for a humanitarian visa so she can enter Texas to bury her son.
The family says U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials turned her away at the border.
“I’ve lost a great son, you have no idea,” she told reporters. “I’m asking God to give me strength.”
The DACA recipient moved to the East Texas community of Lufkin, where he worked as a disk jockey.
The crash occurred on Interstate 45, near Beltway 8, where the trio was en route to a flooded apartment complex.
More than 60 people have died, or are reported to have died, in Harvey’s aftermath, the Houston newspaper reported.
Guillen’s family staked out a position along the creek where they watched for any sign of their loved one. On Sunday, his body floated past the sandy berm where they waited. One of his relatives jumped in and pulled him to the creek’s bank where he awaited a rescue boat.
His father says he begged his son not to go try and rescue people. Guillen insisted and took off with his friends.
“Thank you, God,” the elder Guillen prayed, “for the time I had with him.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.