When A U.S. Citizen Is Deported From Mexico
Don't you just love it when the media actually writes a story about real people? Marc Lacey does precisely that in the New York Times with his article "An American's Lament: 'I Was Deported, Too.'" Lacey writes about "Crash" and "American wanderer" who was found in Mexico without papers after being asked to join a police line-up, and was actually deported back to the Mexico / U.S. border. Here's the best part of the article:
He said he was taken away and later found himself in a police lineup. He said he had been told that a woman had been robbed in Acapulco by a blond man with a goatee. Looking at the other men in the lineup, Crash said they could have been his brothers, all of them blond and with goatees.
He was not chosen as the robber but said he was sent to jail nonetheless, which was not an altogether unpleasant experience for Crash. "The cell was better than some of the 300-peso hotel rooms I've stayed in," he said. "The only thing was that it had bars."
He said he spent about a week there while the American Consulate prepared travel documents for him. When informed that he was going to be deported to the United States, he said he initially could not believe it. "I thought to myself, 'You've got to be kidding. This is a joke. You're deporting me from Mexico?' "Crash said. "I told one of the guys, 'This gives you great satisfaction, doesn't it?' He said, 'You've been doing it to our people for years.' "As it turns out, Americans make up a tiny portion of Mexico's deportees, who are usually Central Americans crossing Mexico's southern border with Belize and Guatemala. The 350 Americans sent home in the first nine months of this year represented just over 1 percent of the 28,778 deportations carried out by Mexican authorities. In contrast, Mexicans represent nearly two-thirds of America's deportees.Marc Lacey - New York Times (13 December 2008)
Lacey does well to mention that the vast majority of deportees from Mexico are Central American, but still this guy "Crash" he interviews is like so many U.S. citizens I've met in Latin America: a wanderer. When he's returned to the U.S. he just walks back over into Mexico. Broke he's actually offered a bunch of marijuana and beer to smuggle unauthorized migrants into the U.S. and gets caught doing it. U.S. officials send him back to Mexico with a warning.
Now he's on the streets of Tijuana singing Woody Guthrie's song "Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)."
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"
My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.
Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?Woody Guthrie - Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos) (29 January 1948)
Here's Bob Dylan and Joan Baez signing it: