An emotional tribute as family members mourn migrant workers before their bodies return home

Dozens gathered at the Mexican Consulate in Orlando to mourn the lives of eight migrant workers killed in a Marion County crash.


ORLANDO, Fla. — Surrounding them, hearses carrying caskets for seven of the eight farmworkers killed. Each bearing the names of the migrant workers ranging in age from 20 to 46.

Two of the families of the farmworkers killed joined those paying their respects.

The Consul told Eyewitness News that the families were able to get humanitarian visas so they can be with their loved one’s bodies as they return home.

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This emotional tribute come a week after troopers say an impaired driver clipped the bus the farmworkers were on causing it to flip. It happened while the victims were traveling to work on a watermelon farm on State Route 40.

“Terrible, very, very, very sad. The people that died all of them are very young guys,” said Juan Sabines, Mexican Consul in Orlando. Sabines said farmworkers often wait weeks or months before being able to work on an H2-As visas in the U.S. It’s a chance for them to earn money to send back to their families in their home country. Many of those killed were only in U.S. for about three weeks.

“It was like knowing them when [their caskets] came here and when I see their names,” said Ana Lamb.

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Lamb didn’t know any of the farmworkers. But in the days after the crash, she’s helped connect with the farmworkers’ families. She was overwhelmed with emotions seeing the farmworkers names labeled on the outside of each of the caskets.

“I cannot imagine the impact for the ones that were family members, cousins, brothers, fathers,” Lamb said.

Many at the vigil said in this moment of mourning, the community must unite.

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They spoke of how often migrant workers are not treated fairly.

They said now is the time for change.

“We’re the ones who put the food on their table, regardless, that nationality. So that’s very important to remember when you are eating, regardless of nationality, you are eating the work of our farmworkers,” Lamb said.

Sabines says two of the bodies of the farmworkers will return home Tuesday night. Three will be transported to Mexico Wednesday. Two of the farmworkers’ bodies will return to their hometowns later this week.

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