The family members of the deceased victims of a recent car crash caused by a smuggler of illegal immigrants criticized Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for not securing the southern border, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an exclusive interview.
Maria and Emilia Tambunga, a grandmother her granddaughter, were struck while driving in south Texas in March by a smuggler as he was being pursued in a vehicle chase. Republican Texas Rep. August Pfluger forced Mayorkas to confront the family members of the victims during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Wednesday.
Mayorkas then turned to the family and offered his condolences, which the family says need to be met with action.
“I mean it affects us everyday. Everyday I see little kids running around and then I’m looking for her, everyday it seems to get quieter and quieter in my home,” Elisa Tambunga, Emilia’s mother, told the DCNF Wednesday before they were set to meet with Mayorkas, an event Pfluger requested during the hearing, adding that her “purpose was Emilia.”
“He was asked [to apologize], he didn’t do it because he felt like it was right,” she said.
The surge in illegal immigration at the Southern border, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recorded more than 1 million migrant encounters between October and March, is the reason their family lost the most important people to them, they said.
“We live in fear that this tragedy is gonna happen to another family,” Elisa said.
“So his apology, at this point, nobody’s apologies mean anything until there’s action taken,” she added.
Emilio, Maria’s husband, also spoke with the DCNF about his heartache.
“She was my wife for 38 years and we were happy together. We babysat our granddaughter, our one and only granddaughter. She was just my little partner, she called me my little partner,” Emilio said.
The family also expressed their frustrations with political battles over the border crisis that’s personally touched them.
“We are just so damn disappointed in this red and blue that’s going on everyday, all day long. And we just need the border secured, tightened up, more troopers, more police. Because if you live down there and if you’re from there you can see it everyday and you feel it everyday,” Maria’s other daughter, Virginia, told the DCNF, adding that in the last 18 months they lost family members to fentanyl.
“It’s important that he [Mayorkas] listens to us and looks at us and says, ‘hey, we’re Mexican-American too and we want for you guys to figure this out,’” Virginia said.
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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation