A Deportee’s Story


The other day, I met a kid who was deported to Tijuana from Long Beach.

I’ll call him Carlos, 21.

When he was three, Carlos’s mother took him from their town in Zacatecas, Mexico. They crossed the border illegally and settled in Long Beach, where Carlos grew up and graduated from Lakewood High School.

He studied fashion design at Long Beach City College and got a job in the shipping department of American Apparel in L.A.

Then one night Long Beach police stopped a car he was in and found the driver had some drugs and took everyone in the car into custody. They put an immigration hold on Carlos and a while later he was sent back to Mexico.

He’s stayed in Tijuana because he wants to cross back into the U.S. He tried once but it didn’t work out, so he told me he’s biding his time for another shot at it.

Carlos had a younger brother, he said, back in Zacatecas whom his mother couldn’t take with her when she left. So the brothers grew up in different countries and didn’t know each other.IMG_0922

His brother, Carlos said, ended up as a bodyguard for a local police captain. A couple years ago, a while before Carlos was deported, the brother was murdered in a dispute with a guy in the town in Zacatecas.

After his deportation, Carlos returned to his hometown in Zacatecas, which he’d last seen at age 3 and began asking around about who killed his brother. One man’s name kept coming up.

“I didn’t kill him or nothing, but, you know, I’m an American. I gotta be strong,” he said. “I took care of it.”

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