They Were Brought to the U.S. as Kids—Then Sent Back to a Country They Barely Know
As Trump’s wall threatens to become a reality, four Mexicans deported under Obama watch their hopes of returning slip away.
Illustrations by Daniel Chang Christensen
The San Ysidro border crossing between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico, is the busiest in the western world, and up until the early 2000s it was surprisingly porous. For decades, Latin American families furtively crossed by the millions, determined to find a better life north of Mexico, and many of them did. But an era of mass deportations began with Bush and gained momentum under Obama, who oversaw the deportation of 2.7 million people, more than any other president in the history of the United States. Trump has pledged to build a wall and deport three million more undocumented people, at times saying he will focus only on those with criminal records. Obama used similar rhetoric in 2014 when he said: “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom that’s working hard to provide for her kids.” But the reality on the other side of the border is not so black and white. Tijuana is teeming with deportees from all …
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