'Our river is crying': Flowers in the Rio Grande honor migrants who died trying to cross
The border communities of Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras came together for a vigil Monday night to mourn the lives lost crossing the Rio Grande.
A mariachi band played as residents from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border came up to speak, one by one, and then drop flowers into the water to honor those who have died trying to enter the U.S.
"When I listen to mariachi music, it touches my heart because I know that our culture is friendly, and we are good people," said Eagle Pass resident Jesse Fuentes.
Fuentes said it's been hard to watch people risk their lives to cross — and even harder to watch the recent militarization of the area by Gov. Greg Abbott to stop them, which includes miles of razor wire and a thousand foot string of buoys.
Abbott's actions have been condemned by the U.S. and Mexican governments. He also faces alawsuitfrom the Justice Department over the buoys.
"Our river is crying. Is it stressed. It has been terrorized," he said.
The city council voted last week to take Shelby Park back from the state and Operation Lone Star, opening it up to the public again.
Those who gathered at Shelby Park for the vigil had one message in common: "We can do better."
Mother Isabel Turcios runs a shelter in Piedras Negras called Casa del Migrante. She said that to speak of migrants is to speak of dreams, stories, and life.
"The community is mourning the lives and dreams that will never be realized," she said in Spanish.
Copyright 2023 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.