Few people can understand the danger and Juan Esteban Montoya is one of them.
The 23-year-old met with ABC13 at his lawyer’s office near NRG Park on Tuesday afternoon. He said the pictures from San Antonio of the tractor-trailer where dozens of bodies were found it was hard for him to look.
Juan Esteban Montoya’s trip from Colombia to the United States was not in the back of an 18-wheeler, but by boat in January. This is only survivors from the moment the boat capsized off the coast of Florida. A photo showed him clinging to the boat alone after four days at sea. About 40 people lost their lives, including his younger sister, Maria Camila Montoya.
“It was very painful to see my sister die,” said his lawyer, Naimeh Salem, who translated.
The brothers had to be reunited with their mother in Houston. It took them a year to save $ 13,000 to pay the smugglers. They took a boat from the Bahamas because they were told it was safer, he said.
“This is happening more than people know,” Salem told Montoya. “These are big facts that people know about, but every day someone dies in the desert or in the water because the smugglers do not have a heart (secretly) they just take advantage of them.”
At least 650 people died in 2021 while crossing the US-Mexico border, according to the United Nations.
And 19 years ago, it was on the roadside in Victoria where 19 people died trapped in a stormy trailer, 51 others survived. Mary Rose Garcia, who worked in a Victoria emergency room, saw the injured surviving.
“You do not forget something like that. You just do not forget it,” Garcia told ABC13. “They just want to get here and have a better life. Some of them make it and some don’t. It’s sad but true.”
Juan Esteban Montoya, who hopes for legal status, he and his sister knew the danger, but a better life was worth it. Despite the heartache, he says the future still looks good.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.
Death of migrants found in San Antonio is latest human smuggling tragedy, but won’t be last Source link Death of migrants found in San Antonio is latest human smuggling tragedy, but won’t be last