By Madison Miller
When Carlos Colón went back to his native country of El Salvador to go attend a symphonic choral piece performance, he sat next to a man who could not read and was flying for the very first time. After ten years, he was finally being reunited with his family.
“I wanted to cry,” Colón said. “Think of that. You and I can fly almost anywhere we want. Why do we treat those that work alongside us different than we would like to be treated?”
Pilar Timpane, a promotion specialist from Duke University and Colón co-produced a film entitled “Lamentos con Alas,” which detailed efforts to help illegal immigrants once they have crossed the border, and identify those who do not reach their final destination.
The film was screened yesterday in the Alexander Reading Room where dozens of people gathered to watch it.
Jenny Howell, a graduate student, moderated a panel discussion after the screening of the film.
Colón said his primary motivation for producing the film was the hurt he felt for the man who hadn’t seen his family in ten years.
Colón found out that the man next to him had been granted temporary protected status and was able to go home.
Colón had heard many similar stories, but said he was not prepared for what they witnessed, such as the effects extreme heat and the bodies being exhumed, last summer when filming the movie.
The film featured Dr. Lori Baker, associate professor of anthropology from Baylor University, and Mr. Lavoyger Durham, a ranch owner in Brooks County.
Durham has found numerous undocumented bodies on trails throughout his ranch.
“I would say 95 percent of them die from dehydration,” Durham said in the film. “I don’t want for them to die on this ranch. I don’t want them to die period.”
Durham has set up water stations along the trails for the immigrants to drink. He has been accused of aiding and abetting the immigrants.
Dr. Baker has put much of her time into her program, “Reuniting Families.” This summer, she took students out to the border to exhume bodies that remained unidentified, as previously reported by the Lariat.
“They send them to Laredo,” Durham said in the film. “If they can’t identify them there then they send them to Dr. Lori.”
Some of the final resting places of the bodies are trash bags, Baker said.
“To bury someone and to find it acceptable to put someone in what they assumed would be their final resting place in a garbage bag is beyond something I can understand,” Dr. Baker said in the film.
Dr. Baker wants to restore dignity to the individuals who have died trying to get across the border.
“I’d like to say thank you to you guys and your support of a beautiful, haunting, painful documentary that tells one part of a story of what is unfolding over the summer in our state,” Howell said.
From here, Timpane and Colón are now working towards telling the story of what churches are doing to help these immigrants that are dying from dehydration.
“For me it is also telling a story that revolves around faith,” Timpane said.