When A U.S. Citizen Is Deported From Mexico

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Picture: New York Times / Eric Hoagland

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:


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7 Comments

It appears from reading that the Mexico government handled this well. I wish the USA government would learn from Mexico and depart the illegal aliens. I am a perpetual traveler of over 10 years, I know that governments in all countries would throw me out of their countries or want huge late fees. I am always amazed that the USA allows this to happen.
Andy HoboTraveler.com Travel Blog

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Dear Andy,

I don't usually publish what I consider to be anti-migrant comments, but you look like a well-meaning person. It's hard for me to believe that you're traveling through places like Guatemala and you still believe deporting millions of unauthorized migrants in the U.S. is the solution.

Furthermore, it's hard for me to believe that you don't see the difference between your privilege as a western traveler who can go anywhere he wants in the world, and a Central America who is lucky if governments give them a visa to leave Central Americans.

Deporting everyone is not the solution. Neither is making migrants so miserable that they leave on their own. The solution is providing opportunities in the home countries of migrants.

Richard Bond said:

Kyle,

Your support of in state tuition, drivers licenses and incoming family unification for the "undocumented" and a path to citizenship casts serious doubt on your belief in the last line of your statement. As long as there is an open door to what can be presented an easier alternative the Central Americans will not make the neccesary investment to improve the local conditions where they originate. Far more remittance money is now spent on bringing more in "undocumented" with human smugglers by the "undocumented" here than on productive assets in their home countries. If they are given no alternative they will put their effort in the right place. BTW Although I support attrition through enforcement I actually spend as much time trying to create jobs and enhance income in the Third World. I am currently having discussions on a biofuel ethanol project in Guatemala with an independent non profit and the attorney for a distiller who I introduced to each other. Read the wikipedia page on "beverage can stoves" for ethanol use as a household kerosene replacement. Although Guatemala produces oil it is a net importer the poor spend a great deal of money on imported kerosene while ethanol is a domestic product employing local labor. What are you doing on economic development there?

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Dear Richard,

I respect the work you do to try and improve conditions in the countries migrants come from. That is the true solution to this problem and anyone that sees that and puts effort into carrying that out is doing the right thing.

I do not agree, however, that "attrition through enforcement" is the right policy solution in the meantime. Making unauthorized migrants so miserable they leave on their own should not even be considered a legitimate policy position.

I disagree that as long as there is an open door to the U.S. Central Americans will not improve their own countries. Look at the research. The vast majority of Central Americans that migrate to the U.S. plan on returning and if it weren't so difficult to migrate back and forth, they would return.

Richard Bond said:

The Gaia Project 501c3 promoting biofuel ethanol use in household cooking

kalb Author Profile Page said:

Tras la derrota japonesa en la Segunda moncler jacketsGuerra Mundial se reanudó el enfrentamiento entre el Gobierno del Kuomintang y el Partido Comunista de China, desatándose una guerra civil que acabaría en 1949 con la victoria de los comunistasmoncler
en el continente. El 1 de octubre de ese año, el líder comunista Mao Zedong proclamó la República Popular China. El gobierno nacionalista de Chiang Kai-shek se tuvo que refugiar en la isla de Taiwán, única parte del país, junto a algunas islas pequeñas, que quedaría, hasta la actualidad, fuera del control del gobierno comunista.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Y que tiene que ver todo eso con este bitacora, kalb?

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on December 13, 2008 7:03 AM.

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They're Not Criminals: Pro-Migrant SanctuarySphere is the next entry in this blog.

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