Mother of two among 53 migrants who died in TX truck said their trip was motivated by lack of jobs


Mother of two among 53 migrants who died after being abandoned in tractor trailer in Texas said their ill-fated trip was motivated by lack of jobs in Honduras

  • Karen Caballero said her sons decided to migrate to the U.S. because there were no job opportunities in Honduras
  • Her oldest son, Alejandro Andino (22), was six courses shy of completing his marketing degree 
  • Andino’s girlfriend, Margie Paz, who also died, had a degree in economics 
  •  Caballero said it’s disappointing that young people ‘never have the opportunity to stand out in a country as it is’
  • The three were among 46 migrants from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras who were found dead in an abandoned tractor trailer near San Antonio on Monday
  • The death toll increased to 53 on Wednesday

Karen Caballero says her two sons and one of their girlfriends would still be alive today if there were job opportunities in Honduras. Instead, the three young people risked their lives to migrate to the Unites States.

Her sons, Fernando Redondo (19) and Alejandro Andino (22), and Andino’s partner Margie Paz (20), were among the 46 migrants who were found dead inside an abandoned tractor trailer near San Antonio, Texas, about 160 miles from the southern border, on Monday.

Adela Ramírez, 28, was the fourth Honduran migrant identified by the government Wednesday. Authorities are still waiting on the identification of 10 other migrants from Honduras who died.

At least 27 Mexicans and seven Guatemalans are among those who have been confirmed dead. Two more came from for El Salvador, and another three whose nationalities are still unknown.

The death toll in the tragedy, which is the deadliest human smuggling attempt in American history, rose to 53 Wednesday and at least 11 migrants remain hospitalized, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Karen Caballero told Honduras television network HCH that her two sons and one of their girlfriends decided to migrate to the United States because of the lack of job opportunities in the Central American nation

Karen Caballero told Honduras television network HCH that her two sons and one of their girlfriends decided to migrate to the United States because of the lack of job opportunities in the Central American nation 

The Honduran government on Wednesday named Fernando Redondo (pictured) among the deceased

Fernando's brother Alejandro Andino (pictured) was also killed in the truck tragedy

The Honduran government on Wednesday named brothers Fernando Redondo (left) and Alejandro Andino (right) among the deceased. Their mother told Honduran television station HCH that her sons and Andino’s girlfriend left for the United States on June 4

Margie Paz, of Honduras, was named among the deceased on Wednesday. The 20-year-old had been studying at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. She was dating Alejandro Caballero

Margie Paz, of Honduras, was named among the deceased on Wednesday. The 20-year-old had been studying at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. She was dating Alejandro Caballero

The incident left 53 migrants, including five children, dead, and at least 11 remain hospitalized. Officials have so far identified 34 of the victims

The incident left 53 migrants, including five children, dead, and at least 11 remain hospitalized. Officials have so far identified 34 of the victims

Redondo, Andino and Paz left their hometown in the western city of Las Vegas for the United States on June 4 in search of a better life because companies back home overlooked them every time they applied for employment, Caballero said in an interview with Honduran television station HCH.

‘We are suffering because when they left the house. We never, never imagined that something like this would happen. Never, never,’ the mourning mother said.

According to Caballero, Andino was six courses away from graduating with a marketing degree, and Paz had a degree in economics.

‘They were never able to find a job here in Honduras despite the fact that my son was always called by good companies, no one ever wanted to offer him a job because they always told him that they had no experience,’ Caballero said. 

‘It is sad to see that young people who have prepared themselves with the sacrifice of their family never have the opportunity to stand out in a country as it is.’

Surveillance cameras captured Homero Zamorano, 45, driving the truck across the border hours before he allegedly abandoned it on a road on the outskirts of San Antonio

Surveillance cameras captured Homero Zamorano, 45, driving the truck across the border hours before he allegedly abandoned it on a road on the outskirts of San Antonio

The driver who abandoned the tractor trailer in the sweltering Texas heat, leaving at least 53 migrants dead, was 'very high on meth' when police arrested him

The driver who abandoned the tractor trailer in the sweltering Texas heat, leaving at least 53 migrants dead, was ‘very high on meth’ when police arrested him 

A report released in May by the Honduran Council for Private Enterprise showed that 13.2 percent people between the ages of 15 and 29 were unemployed in the country in 2021. Figures for 2022 were not provided.

‘Let the young have opportunities. They deserve it. My son deserved it. My daughter-in-law deserved it. And nobody in any company gave them the opportunity,’ Caballero said. 

‘They were dreaming as a couple because my son’s first girlfriend is her. … They had dreams, they had goals and they were not going to be fulfilled here. Unemployment. So many things. The lack of opportunities.’

While Caballero cautioned her two sons about the ever-present dangers of migrating to the United States, she said that the family ‘saw it not as a way out, but as an opportunity for them to have a better lifestyle.’

Caballero said she last spoke to her sons Saturday morning while they were in the Texas border town of Roma while waiting to continue their journey, but she declined to reveal their intended final destination.

She also refused to say how much her sons and Paz paid to be smuggled, although investigators believe all of the migrants paid the smugglers around $10,000 each for safe passage across the United States-Mexico border.

Adela Ramírez  is one of 14 Hondurans who died in the smuggling incident

Adela Ramírez  is one of 14 Hondurans who died in the smuggling incident

Authorities arrested 45-year-old Homero Zamorano, of Houston, and Mexican nationals Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao and Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez in connection with the incident.

D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna-Menderz were charged in federal court Tuesday with possessing firearms while residing in the U.S. illegally.

Zamorano was captured by a surveillance camera driving the truck across the border hours before he abandoned it on a remote road.

He was captured by surveillance cameras driving the trailer through U.S. Customs and Border Protection immigration checkpoints in Encinal, Texas, about 34 miles from the Mexico border, around 2.50pm Monday.

The truck was found abandoned near San Antonio, about 160 miles from the border, around 6pm. Investigators suspect the truck had suffered some sort of mechanical problem.

The driver and suspected human smuggler pretended to be an illegal migrant when authorities confronted him, Francisco Garduño Yáñez , the director of Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, said during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily news briefing Wednesday.

‘The driver tried to pass himself off as one of the survivors,’ Garduño Yáñez said, noting the National Institute of Migration had no data on Zamorano.

‘ICE reported that three people are already detained as allegedly responsible for human trafficking and homicide,’ he said while adding that ‘the plates, logos and license were cloned.’

Zamorano was arrested Monday in a desolate area near Lackland Air Force Base after having tried to pass himself off as a survivor.

Zamorano, 45, pretended to be an immigrant to avoid being detained. This image of the truck bed and Zamorano was presented in a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico, by the commissioner of the National Migration Institute

Zamorano, 45, pretended to be an immigrant to avoid being detained. This image of the truck bed and Zamorano was presented in a press conference at the National Palace in Mexico, by the commissioner of the National Migration Institute

‘He was very high on meth when he was arrested nearby and had to be taken to the hospital,’ a law enforcement official confirmed to The San Antonio Express News.

He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and is expected to be charged soon.

D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna-Mendez were apprehended at a residence in the 100 block of Arnold Drive after officers traced the truck’s registration to the property.

The residence was placed under surveillance and both men were arrested as they attempted to leave the property.

Officials had first linked Zamorano’s rig to an Alamo resident. However, investigation proved the Alamo man’s truck had been out hauling grain in another part of Texas at the time of the incident.

Isaac Limon, whose father-in-law owned the truck whose data was cloned, told The Washington Post: ‘It was a perfect setup.’

‘His DOT Number was illegally copied onto the truck…’ he added. ‘He is not the owner of the truck in San Antonio that is involved in this tragic event.’

‘Sad to say, but he’s a bit of a victim, too, because people believe it was him.’

Law enforcement officials believe Zamorano was transporting around 100 migrants in the rig, but the exact number remains unclear.

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