Two Oaxcan brothers were found inside the San Antonio Death Truck— one dead, one alive —

Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial at the site where officials found dozens of people dead in an abandoned semitrailer containing suspected migrants, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

One day last month, two brothers in this Oaxacan municipality of 160,000 abruptly told their wives that they would be leaving for the United States within the week.

Mariano and Begai Santiago Hipólito, both in their early 30s, were frustrated with their jobs as construction workers, an occupation where on a good week they might each make about $100.

They said they planned to travel to Georgia and return a few years later with enough money to better support their children. Their wives said they urged them to stay, reminding them of the tight-knit evangelical community they’d leave behind. But the brothers were adamant.

“He told me, I’m only going for two years, the time will go by quickly,” said Luz Estrella Cuevas Remolino, Mariano’s wife. “I’ll be back to be with you.”

On June 27, nine days after they set off, Cuevas was breastfeeding her son and watching television when she viewed a headline about a tragedy in San Antonio. Dozens of migrants had been found dead in an abandoned, sweltering tractor-trailer.

Mariano, she’d learn, had died. Begai, she was told, was in a hospital in grave condition.

Woman in house
Luz Estrella Cuevas Remolino in her bedroom, where she first saw a news report about the tragedy. (Eva Lepiz / For The LA Times)

It was one of the deadliest human-trafficking tragedies in U.S. history, with 53 victims who were most, if not all, from Mexico and Central America. Many were people who had lost hope for their futures in their hometowns and decided to risk a dangerous journey in search of better opportunities for themselves and their families.

Two of the victims were 13-year-old cousins from an indigenous community in northern Guatemala. Also dead was a young college-educated couple from Honduras who had struggled to find well-paying jobs.

Fatalities are common on the migrant trail. Many die trying to cross the desert, after having hired smugglers, or while climbing onto moving freight trains.

Advocates say that harsh border policies like Title 42, a rule invoked during the Trump administration that allows authorities to immediately expel migrants even if they say they are seeking asylum, have forced migrants on increasingly perilous routes.

Source: OEM

The Oaxaca Post