SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Nabeel Younis, 27, first arrived in Panama from Pakistan nearly three years ago.
“He had come to Panama to participate in World Youth Day with the pope,” said Donna O’Brien, who befriended Younis.
O’Brien said Younis stayed in Panama to apply for asylum and a work visa with no luck.
For the past two years, O’Brien and her husband have allowed her to say in their home in Panama near the Costa Rican border.
O’Brien said he became like a son to her.
“He was charming, creative, very smart,” O’Brien recalled. “Nabeel has always seen North America, the United States and Canada as a promised land. He always thought there was no future for him in Pakistan.
On November 9, Younis reportedly left for the US-Mexico border; it took him a little less than a month to make the trip. He was traveling with six other men from Pakistan.
“The last audio I have of him is five seconds and he says, ‘I’m going now, I’m going now,'” O’Brien said.
She said Younis and the others were on the border between Mexicali, Mexico and Calexico, California.
“He was in contact with this family in Pakistan every day, and throughout his journey he was in contact with me almost every day,” O’Brien said.
But the messages and calls have stopped, no one has heard from her for over two weeks.
“There are seven Pakistani Christians who fled Pakistan seeking freedom and something happened to them, they disappeared,” O’Brien said. “The despair of those who loved him, I can’t imagine how his parents in Pakistan feel.”
O’Brien told Border Report that they notified several federal agencies on both sides of the border, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, hoping someone knows something.
“We also called hospitals, morgues but there is nothing.”
A private investigator from Oregon is now on the case interviewing people in Calexico, where Younis said he was jumping over the border fence.
But the investigator also found nothing.
“I couldn’t get in touch with his family, he was their youngest,” O’Brien said.
At present, it appears that Younis’ fate is identical to that of more than 2,400 migrants who have disappeared along the US-Mexico border in recent years, according to the International Organization for Migration.
“These numbers are a sad reminder that the lack of options for safe and legal mobility is pushing people down more invisible and risky paths, putting them at greater risk,” said Frank Laczko, director of the Data Analytics Center. of IOM.
“Loss of life should never be normalized or tolerated as a supposed risk of irregular migration,” Laczko said.