"I've lost a great son, you have no idea," said his mother, Rita Ruiz de Guillen

By Caitlin Keating
September 04, 2017 11:29 AM
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

A 31-year-old man who benefitted from the DACA program President Donald Trump is expected to end reportedly drowned while trying to save others from deadly floodwaters that besieged Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Alonso Guillen, a 31-year-old disc jockey, was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which assists undocumented immigrants who came to the U. S. as children. Trump will likely announce Tuesday that he will end the widely supported program, but will delay implementation of the order for six months to give Congress a window to act, multiple outlets report.

Born in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Alonso moved to Lufkin, Texas, as a teenager, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Alonso disappeared last Wednesday around midnight along with two friends after their boat hit a bridge in Cypress Creek in Spring, Texas. One friend was found alive and clinging to a tree, but days later Alonso and his friend were still missing, according to the newspaper. Searchers first spotted his body on Friday afternoon, but were only able to get him to shore on Sunday.

His father, Jesus Guillen, told the Chronicle that there was no convincing his son not to go out and help as many people as he could. As they pulled him out of the water, Jesus says he cried and prayed.

“Thank you, God,” he said, “for the time I had with him.”

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Compelled to act as flood waters rose, Alonso headed south with his friends toward Houston after Hurricane Harvey, and brought along a borrowed boat. They were trying to reach an apartment complex when they hit the bridge, relatives told the newspaper.

Alonso’s mother, Rita Ruiz de Guillen, who lives in Piedreas Negras, Mexico, said by phone that she was heartbroken — and unsure whether she could travel to the U.S. following his death.

“I’ve lost a great son, you have no idea,” she said. “I’m asking God to give me strength.”

Still in the application process for legal status, she told the Chronicle she traveled to the border hoping U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials would grant her a humanitarian visa so that she could come to Houston to bury her son — but she was turned away.“When we are with God, there are no borders,” she said. “Man made borders on this earth.”