After federal immigration agents showed up at their Delano, California house, two farmworkers sped off in an SUV, hoping to evade the officers. However, things turned deadly when the driver lost control. At first, the driver pulled over when agents attempted to stop the car. But as soon as agents got out of their car, they sped off. The person behind the wheel turned onto a dirt shoulder before hitting a power pole, killing Santos Hilario García and Marcelina García instantly. The story of the couple – the parents of six – has struck a nerve. And now, the internet has come together to help their children.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents first arrived at their home because they believed the residence belonged to a Mexican citizen who immigration officials had previously removed from the country. When Santos emerged from the home, they said a man “matching the target’s description” got into a car. Though Hilario García had voluntarily returned to Mexico three times before, ICE said they weren’t originally looking for him.
But as immigration officials continue to target our must vulnerable and separate families, Santos and Marcelina likely felt they had no choice but to flee. So as their children grapple with their new reality, Linda Hinojosa started a GoFundMe account to raise money for the kids, aged 8 to 18. According to the post, the couple’s oldest daughter will take her siblings into custody and raise her 19-month-old son. So far, the internet has raised more than $40,000, which will help the children pay for rent, food, and other necessities. The children hope to send their parents to Mexico for burial.
With the outpouring of support, Ruffina Hilario has sent a message on behalf of her family. “While we are still grieving and will be for some time, your support has given us the peace of mind that we will be able to sustain a stable home and family in Delano,” the message reads. “Thank you for your continued support and please keep in mind all of the families like ours who are torn apart by ICE.”
Donate to the campaign here.