SaturdaysonCNN INTERNATIONAL630, 1030, 1430 GMT730, 1130, 1530 CET
April 6th, 2012
08:25 PM ET

Deportation after dark

by Traci Tamura

CNN Producer

Recently, I traveled to Nogales, Mexico to work on a CNN story with reporter Thelma Gutierrez and Senior Photojournalist Gregg Canes, about what happens to undocumented immigrants who are deported from the United States back to Mexico at all hours of the night. We spent a couple of nights on the border to meet some of the recent deportees.

We first ran into Mario, who had just been deported from a detention center in Arizona. This family man with three children was living and working in construction when he was first detained in Washington state. Mario had lived in the United States for 25 years, but now all he had to show for it was a backpack filled with dirty clothes and his weathered Bible. Mario told us he has been away from his family for almost two years and one of the things he misses most is his four-year-old son. His eyes welled up when he told us every time he calls home, his young son says, "Daddy, I want to fly over in a helicopter to pick you up and bring you back home."  Mario knows that won't happen but lets his son hold on to that dream for the time being.

Next, we met 19-year-old Ariel. His mother brought him into the U.S. at the age of two, and he grew up as a typical Southern California beach boy. When we found Ariel, he was wearing his hooded sweatshirt and sitting outside a humanitarian aid office for migrants. He was a scared, dazed and confused young man who only had a backpack with a few pieces of clothes, a cell phone that had run out of minutes and a single picture of his beloved mother – who was also deported back to Mexico. Ariel was lost and not sure what he would do next since he was essentially a stranger in his strange "home" land. But as scared as he was about himself, what struck me most was how concerned he was about leaving his younger sister – who is an American citizen – behind. The love and paternal feelings he had toward his sister made him seem older than his years. But when he talked about how terrifying the whole deportation experience was for him, he seemed just like an American teenager from San Diego.

One of the last people we met on our journey was Karla, a single mother deported from Phoenix who was forced to leave her two sons – both American citizens – behind in Arizona. Without relatives to care for them, the boys ended up in the custody of Child Protective Services.  Karla was brought to the U.S. with her sister and mother when she was a teenager. She’d made a home in Phoenix for 26 years until she was detained after a domestic dispute with her boyfriend. Talking through tears at one of the few shelters for deportees, she told us she misses her kids dearly but knows she can’t offer them a better life in Mexico. She tells us that if it came down to it she would rather give them up for adoption than subject them to a dangerous life on the streets where she can’t protect them. As if to punctuate our conversation, gunshots rang out in the night as we talked to Karla. We all jumped a bit. Karla told us that happens all the time and is precisely why she would not bring her children with her.

The fear of being across the border in Mexico at night lessens when you meet and talk with people who are still in the midst of their journey. When we were done with our story we had the liberty to simply drive back across the border… but it's hard to forget the people we met.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Conroegirl

    It is unfortunate that the deportees are victimized by the cartels. However the responsiblity to rid Mexico of the cartels lies with it's own government. This report failed to mention that deportees have access to phones and can receive funds from family and friends prior to deportation. Deportees have several options available to them like seeking assistance from there consulate prior to deportation. This is another attempt blame America for Mexico's problems.

    April 7, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Johanna

      Not a real surprise, is it? They're motsly only obsessed with the Holocaust. Not really talking about the killings by communist Russia or China either. Wrongly enough the mass media also seems to follow the same pattern and I keep wondering why

      May 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jack Bilariusz

    Another unbelievable and a heart-wretching story. Are we really this disconnected and selfish as a society to cause so much injustice and sorrow to so many... and for what price ??? ...or for what glory ??? Shameful it is we have become....

    April 7, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Conroegirl

      I regret to inform you that we as a nation are not shameful, the Mexican government has a responsibility to protect its citizens. Why are we asking ourselves why aren't there more shelters in place for deportees? The deportee themselves has a responsibility to themselves to make arrangements for themselves prior to deportation. Additionally, deportations take part at different times they are not deported exclusively at night.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Spartax

      Hi Sharon! Thank you so much for your comment and qisntuoes!! I was wondering if you could help me understand this situation a little more clearly:-How long was the employee out of the country?-Was employment terminated at all?This can be a very confusing situation. If you'd like, please feel free to call or email me. I will be happy to discuss this over the phone so we can get it all worked out. Thanks, Sharon!-Amber

      July 26, 2012 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Aleksandra

        Whilst I am no fan of our current gnoernmevt and its patronising, destructive, abhorrent, and regressive policies, I cannot understand for the life of me how not having the correct work permit/visa is classed as you being refused entry and removed due to sticklerism . It clearly has nothing to do with your politics at all. As if the gnoernmevt would be so scared by three guys from the States playing a small gig at Cargo a venue with a mere 800 capacity. Trying to turn your refusal of entry for having incorrect paperwork into some sort of political advantage and publicity stunt smacks of desperation, what's more it's rather disingenuous.

        October 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chanel

    i would like to find out what happened to the 14 year old boy... it worries me... does any one know ?have any information ?

    May 2, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Samayra

      that I was against amestny.It was this part:So having given amestny to 3 million then, we are prepared to give it to 12 million now. How many million next time? And what do we say to the dozens of millions who are respectful of our immigration laws and are waiting to be given permission to come here legally?If you are not, in fact, against amestny, you should have said so. I cannot read your mind. There's nothing preconceived here; I know nothing about you except what you write.

      August 30, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joshua

    the newly elected French President. His name is Nicolas Sarkozy- next time you write an aclrite, know what your talking about in the first place before you start babling blindly about an issue that you clearly do not understand.Another Right Pundits success story!

    May 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gumica

    Hi, I am new to this company and we have alot of iamrgimnts working for us. I just came accross an issue where an employee left the country to get his I-94 and now is returning. He was not previously on the health insurance however is looking to enroll now as of the date he returns. Even though he wasn't on the health insurance previously can he enroll now being that he is returning to the country? Or would he have to wait for open enrollment since he didn't enroll in the coverage previously?

    July 26, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey

      You will find various ways reanrdigg calculating ones maintain force, which in turn lets you evaluate the real body demand and acquire a directory of maintain demand sizes. Digital and also digital camera gadgets is also the least difficult kinds to make use of. Electronic blood vessels pressure coomputer sceens is usually regarded the same method.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Alex

    hard cases make bad law. I would say they break law into new paths..The battle of this man may be for vleoint ends. But in some battles you cannot pre-define the outcome. I think it likely that bereft of all other options this vleoint man has become something else. And that may make us as afraid as we were of his past ends..He cannot, at this point, break his fast. He will have to be fed medically..This man has violated our rules of existence, and we don't know what to do about it. He is imploding, and all we want are the usual pre-packaged answers. So I repeat: our greater fear is that in these 60 odd days he has become something new. Do we allow that? Is it in the instruction booklet?

    October 3, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nicolas

    Well, yeah. What else are you gonna do? Get all survivalist and slkpocite spearfishing equipment in your basement while you bone up on your ammo reloading skills, and practice ambush tactics among your 50 gallon drums of beans?Maybe not fastidiously maintain our lawnmowers, but certainly our bicycles

    October 29, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bath-mate

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    February 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. othercvr

    I can't believe that woman would prefer to give her childrens for adoption than to figth for them whatever the situation is. I wonder if that woman would take to Uganda or Senegal, those countries where they are really starving, very poor, surely she would prefer to stay in Mexico. For them it is like if they are deported they are going to dead! They does not realize that there are other oportunities outside US. you have to ADAPT and Figth to improve your life. I just fell sick about that people. Not all the cities in Mexico are violent, it is more like the press gives emphasis with the shooting to the history. Garbage of people.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |