Magon: The Deportation Chronicles, Pt. 3

Jan. 26, 2013 / By

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The Diary of Joaquín Magón Entry 24: The Deportation Chronicles, Part 3

Raul: Those Who Said Goodbye

In 2010, there were an estimated 387,000 “removals” according to Department of Homeland Security documents. My high school friend Raul was one of them.

He has been living in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, for three years now. He has been trying to adjust to his new life ever since.

The fact that he was born in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, doesn’t help much. He may as well have been born in the United States because Mexicali is a different world. Even though its motto is “the homeland begins here,” it is a strange city that most Mexicans wouldn’t even consider Mexico. The neon lights, the smells of taco stands, candy stores, strip clubs, pharmacies, have made it into a city of tourists and passersby going to or coming from the U.S.

Meeting someone born and raised in Mexicali is not as common as meeting someone passing through. The heat of the desert mixes with the traffic to cause a heat even those who have lived there their whole lives can’t stand. I’ve driven through those streets plenty of times to pick up family members that rode the bus from Sinaloa. I love it, but I am aware that it’s a privilege to be able to come and go.

When Raul was deported, it struck him as crazy. He was, after all, a college student with no criminal record. He was stopped and questioned by the police while hanging out with some friends in one of Indio’s deserted areas, a big patch of desert, with dirt and bushes and, well, nothing around them. The officer told them they were trespassing. Then the officer asked if he had papers. He didn’t.

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