NPR Latino USA: All They Will Call You Will be Deportees

February 16, 2018

 By: Fernanda Echavarri & Maggie Freleng

On the morning of February 27, 1948, a plane traveling from Oakland to the Mexican border crashed in Los Gatos Canyon, California, about an hour southwest from Fresno. All 32 people on board died that day. Twenty-eight of them were Mexican farmworkers who were in the United States because of the Bracero Program.

All the people on the plane died the same way, but in death, they were not treated the same. For the four American crew members, U.S. officials gathered what remains they could, and sent caskets to their families. The remains of the 28 Mexican braceros were not sent back to Mexico to be repatriated or given proper burial by their families. Instead, they were buried in a mass grave under a tiny plaque that read only “28 Mexican citizens who died in an airplane accident near Coalinga.” Even the media that reported the accident referred to the 28 Mexicans only as “deportees.”

These migrant workers were invisible in life and nameless in death.

But now, 70 years later, the world finally knows who they were, and their stories are being told in a book called All They Will Call You by Mexican-American author Tim Hernandez. We follow Tim’s 7-year journey to shed light on this incident—a journey that all started with a Woody Guthrie song.


We’ve posted Tim’s full list of the Mexican passengers below. If you or anyone you know might be related, please email Tim at

*Families who have been located

  1. Miguel Álvarez Negrete, original de Puebla, familiares desconocidos
  2. Tomás de Gracía Aviña, madre Rosa Mercado, calle Juárez, Tepic, Nayarit
  3. Santiago Elizondo García, de Cotija, Michoacan, padre Valentino Elizondo, Ocotlán, Jalisco
  4. Rosalio Estrada Padilla, de San Juan de los Reyes, Jalisco, esposa Concepción Padilla
  5. Bernabé García Lopez, de Magdalena, Jalisco, calle Ochoa 248, Tijuana, B.C.
  6. Salvador Hernández Sandoval, padre Jesús Hernández, Jalpa, Zacatecas
  7. Severo Medina Lara, padre Hipólito Lara, Jua—, Zacatecas
  8. Elías Macías Trujillo, padre Juan Macías, Esenada, B.C.
  9. José Macías Rodríguez, de Mamalisco, Jalisco, parientes desconocidos
  10. Luis Medina López, padre Daniel Medina, calle Cinco de Mayo, Monareal, Michoacán
  11. Manuel Merino Calderón, padre José Merino, Calle Once Oriente 213, Puebla
  12. Martín Navarro Razo, de La Barca, Jalisco, parientes desconocidos
  13. Ignacio Navarro Pérez, padre José M. Navarro, esposa María Luisa Zarate, Rancho Cerrito, Michoacán
  14. Román Ochoa Ochoa, padre Roman Ochoa, esposa María
  15. Apolonio Placencia Ramírez, padre Ramón Placencia, calle Torquemada 77, Colonia Obrera, México D.F.
  16. Alberto Raygoza Carlos, padre Cruz Raygoza, calle Florida 325, Colonia Noche Buena, Mexico D.F.
  17. Guadalupe Rodríguez, padre Guadalupe Rodríguez, avenida República Brasil, México D.F.
  18. María Rodríguez Santana, esposa del anterior, padre Hilario Rodríguez, de Juchitlán, Jalisco
  19. Wenceslao Flores, padre Jerónimo Ruiz, de Nochistlán, Zacatecas
  20. Juan Ruiz Valenzuela, padre Jerónimo Ruiz, de Nochistlán, Zacatecas
  21. Jesús Santos Meza, padre Sabino Santoy(s), Ahualco de Mercado, Jalisco
  22. Baldomero Torres Marcas, padre Martín Torres, Mexicali B.C.
  23. *Ramón Paredes Ramírez, padre Vicente Paredes Villa, Santiago, Guanajuato
  24. *Guadalupe Ramírez Lara, padre José Ramírez Villa, Santiago, Guanajuato
  25. *José Sánchez Valdivia, de Nochistlán, Zacatecas, parientes desconocidos
  26. *Luis Miranda Cuevas, madre Isabel Cuevas, Fortuna 3, Jocotepec, Jalisco
  27. *Tomás Márquez Padilla, padre Tomás Márquez, San Julián, Jalisco
  28. *Francisco Durán Llamas, de Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes, padre José Duran