The founder and head of San Diego-based Border Angels blames President Donald Trump’s “extreme” immigration policies for the apparent suicide of a deported Mexican immigrant.
Guadalupe Olivas Valencia jumped to his death Tuesday from a bridge connecting Mexico and the United States 30 minutes after being sent to Baja, according to news reports.
Enrique Morones of Border Angels called the death a “personal tragedy. And there will be more of these.”
Trump’s policy will not make the United States safer, but will lead to more fear and less compassion, Morones told Times of San Diego in a phone interview.
“This is not what this country is all about,” he said.
Morones said he was asked to speak to children and parents at a school recently because they are so scared by the latest immigration news.
Children will end up walking to school alone, rather than with their parents, because of the parents’ fear, Morones said Wednesday.
“The children hear their parents talk and fear that they may be taken away at any moment,” he said.
Olivas, 45, tried to cross into the U.S. illegally Monday, was detained and sent back to Mexico on Tuesday, said the Los Angeles Times.
He had worked as a gardener in California for years to support his three sons after his wife died, the Times reported.
Yuriba Valles de Espinoza, Olivas’ niece, told the Times that she believed her uncle threw himself off the bridge “in desperation over the deportation” because he had had trouble finding work in Mexico. The bridge is just yards from El Chaparral, the main border crossing.
The story is getting international attention in light of the release of new, stricter immigration guidelines released Tuesday by the Trump administration.
Images on Facebook show Olivas after the fall on his back next to a plastic bag with his belongings.
A native of Sinaloa, a violent state in Mexico and stronghold of a major drug cartel, Olivas died of a heart attack and concussion, according to the BBC.
Witnesses said Olivas was shouting that he did not want to return to Mexico and seemed to be in severe distress, the BBC reports.
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security states that Olivas was deported from the U.S. at least six times.