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Monday, October 15, 2012

Deported Illegal Immigrants Land In Limbo

The US has deported more than 1-million illegal immigrants since 2008 and an increasing number of them find themselves in some of the most dangerous regions of Mexico.

The drug cartels prey on them, holding some of them for ransom from their relatives who are still in the US. Others are recruited to join the drug gangs.

The Los Angeles Times followed their plight in a series called “Without A Country.”

Reporter Richard Marosi said, “They’re suspended between two nations. A lot of them have spent 10 or 20 years in the US. They don’t really have relatives left in Mexico. So they’re really in a state of limbo.”


  • Richard Marosi, LA Times

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  • Dave Holzman

    A much better way to deal with illegal immigration would be to pass a mandatory national E-verify (which enables employers to very quickly, and easily check the immigration status of potential employees). If they can’t get jobs, they won’t come, and they will leave. Unfortunately, the relevant republican committee heads have been dragging their feet this year, because big companies like the cheap labor; the Dems think if we can get citizenship for illegal immigrants, they will become Democratic voters (and they do tend to become Dems, but that’s  not excuse to enable illegal immigration, even though I’m a democrat). Illegal immigration really does take jobs from Americans. Here’s the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof on that issue from his 9/apr/2006 op-ed:


    I used to favor a program to allow in guest workers,
    thinking it would be good for them and also great for America by providing a
    source of low-cost labor — just as it was good for America to admit our own
    ancestors. And illegal immigrants overwhelmingly are hard-working people who
    keep the economy humming, so they deserve respect rather than xenophobic
    resentment and a marginalized life in the shadows.

    But I’ve changed my mind on a guest worker program, because of growing evidence
    that low-wage immigration hurts America’s own poor.

    The most careful study of this issue, done by George Borjas and Lawrence Katz
    and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that the surge
    of immigration in the 1980’s and 1990’s lowered the wages of America’s own high
    school dropouts by 8.2 percent. “The large growth and predominantly low-skilled
    nature of Mexican immigration to the United States over the past two decades
    appears to have played a modest role in the widening of the U.S. wage
    structure,” the study concluded.

    Another study, by Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies,
    reached similar conclusions. Between 2000 and 2005, he found, immigrant workers
    with a high school degree or less rose by 1.5 million, while employment of
    native workers at that education level fell by 3.2 million.

    It’s often said that immigrants take jobs that Americans won’t take. But look
    at employment statistics, and you see that even among maids and agricultural
    workers, only four out of 10 people are immigrants.

    I can’t write about this issue without thinking of Elmer, a neighbor when I was
    growing up. He’s a high school dropout now in his 50’s, but when I met him in
    1971, he was earning $26 an hour in a union job. He’s very hard-working, but
    for the last decade he’s been reduced to janitorial jobs paying not much over
    minimum wage. People like Elmer haven’t been heard from in the immigration
    debate, but they have the most at stake.

    The 1986 immigration amnesty ended up bringing in waves of unskilled workers.
    They care for our children and mow our lawns. But as they raise living
    standards for many of us, they lower the living standards of Americans like

    That’s a trade-off we need to face squarely. The impulse behind immigration
    reforms is a generosity that I admire. But the cold reality is that admitting
    poor immigrants often means hurting poor Americans. We can salve the pain with
    job programs for displaced Americans, but the fundamental trade-off is

    Children are hit particularly hard, because they are disproportionately likely
    to be poor. Nearly half of American children depend on a worker with a high
    school education or less.


  • Kathryn

    I have worked with Latino immigrants for a long time.  As long as there is economic disparity, immigrants will come to the US.  I believe that if we invested all the money that we spend on border security and deportations into economic development programs in Mexico and Central America, things may shift.   It is painful and difficult to decide to leave your country and immigrants come as a last resort, not a first choice.  They are not able to support their families in Mexico any longer.  We need to work on more opportunities in Mexico if we expect them to stop crossing.      Kathryn in Portland

    • Glauchow

      Untrue, Mexico has 4% unemployment and the 13th best economy in the world. They even have a food stamp type program.

      If a family of unemployed poor Americans live next door to working illegal aliens, do they have a right to break laws and steal from them?

      NAFTA ended the sob story poor Mexican excuse. America has poor also, and a empty belly hurts just as bad here as in Mexico. Did you know that we let in almost 2.5 million Mexicans each year on green cards and visas (including 800,000 NAFTA workers) That’s more than enough with 23 million Americans looking for full time jobs. 

  • Moxro

    Robin, please stop using the term “illegal immigrants”

    • dan

      I agree. The correct term is “illegal aliens”.

    • MyNameIsTed

      Fortunately this “don’t call illegal immigrants ‘illegal immigrants’” nonsense is backfiring as a nation wakes up and has had it with mollycoddling illegals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637890029 Keith James

    feel bad for the deportees and hope they get a better treatment in the
    future… but the elephant in the room that I have not heard addressed
    is anyone applying for U.S. Citizenship as so many thousands have done
    legally. What about that solution?

  • Karis

    I worked in the border town of Ague Prieta in Sonora with a ministry providing aid to people re-patriated in the middle of the night. These people were often families with children and as your guest stated, they were viewed as easy targets. These people were almost always planning their next attempt to “cross” within the next few hours (cross meaning, taking the dangerous path through the Sonoran desert to return to the US). It only makes szense that if the US dumps deported or repatriated migrants in a dangerous place far from home, that it is no more of a risk to re-enter the US once again.

    Futhermore, how is it ok to treat another human being so poorly simply because they broke a law? If I get pulled over for breaking the speed limit law, does that mean the cop should be allowed to beat me because I was already in the wrong? What about murder? If someone kills another person in cold blood, they still have a right to a fair trial and to be treated humanely. How do Americans so easily detach themselves from humanity?

  • Trisha17

    Curiosity overwhelms me as a I ponder the point of this story.  Here are a few ideas:  compassion for the deported criminal — who by the way happens to be in this country illegally?  Oh but, the recording from the father “I love you” to his child.  And is it the same father having a fourth child?   

    No doubt in the deportation process is in hopes these people–these criminals — will die before they make it to the US border again.

    I love immigrants — truly.  Could care less where someone is from, but appreciate hardworking honest people — even if they are illegal.  What I don’t care for is the “enabling of laziness” that is happening to these immigrants and their “AMERICAN” children.

    You need to be clear with your facts.  If an immigrant is in the U.S. illegally, has a baby, that child receives medicaid until they are an adult.  Many U.S. citizens would appreciate the same “Affordable Health Care Plan.”  If there is no money in the family for food, the undocumented get food stamps.

    I’ve been working and helping a family for five years.  The boyfriend is abusive to one child who isn’t his and now he has two children of his own.  Not to worry.  Almost all undocumented immigrants have social security cards for jobs and many get tax benefits of $2,000 per child at the end of every year.  If you are giving — they are taking.

    None of the adults have yet to learn English — but they are thriving.  There is one child who is abused by the mother’s boyfriend that I take care of and vow never to let him go until he is away from them.  But the mother believes her life is wonderful as she is on her fourth child.

    I won’t back out until he is safe — permanently — with me.

    If my country wants to deport criminals that have no legal rights in this country — I’d like to add a few to the list.

    The American government and its citizens on an individual basis without being asked,  do much to assist the undocumented of any nationality.  By the way — I do not believe the media knows there are not only Latinos in the U.S. that are undocumented.

    We give …. we give …. we give ….  The children born in the U.S. of the undocumented are OUR children.  And I for one will champion for each one of them.  If their parents get deported — maybe, for some children, it is best.

    Don’t always portray the “sad life of the undocumented” because it really ain’t that bad for them in  the U.S.!  

    And  as for getting deported, I’ve learned that the majority of the undocumented from South of the U.S. border go back and forth across the border on a regular basis.  It is an accepted way of life.  

  • Neal

    I listened to this story and was disappointed to hear about hate emails and the lack of concern from some Americans. I have worked with migrants, including illegal migrants in the past. I am a Christian. This story is another example that the US is not a “Christian” nation but instead a nation with a percentage of Christians who practice justice (Heb. “mishpat” and love/mercy (Heb. “hesed”). Of course, I also recognize that there are non Christians who also practice justice and mercy. 

  • Paid2sparkle

    I am shocked and saddened by the lack of generosity of spirit for another human being.  This goes for regular folks like myself and our leaders.  If we are sending anyone back over a border who has been here since he was 3 years old, into such dangerous circumstances for having a broken tail light and no license we are quite inhumane.  It also concerns me that it is not really an issue for our politicians as we head into our presidential election and where are the Hispanic people who are legal here.  Why haven’t we heard more in our media from them?  It is mostly the Hispanic people who we hear about being deported into this inhumane environment. 

    • Glauchow

      So the longer criminal activity happens, the bigger the reward?

      I dislike the lack of compassion that the pro-illegal groups have. Lack of compassion for the Americans out of work because of business and it’s cheap illegal labor, the lack of compassion for legal immigrants, for those with stolen ids, stolen social security numbers.

      And the lack of compassion by those here illegally, stealing what is not theirs.

      Are you aware that children brought here illegally can return home and come back legally 2-6 months on student visas or residency? If they don’t by 18.5 years of age, they are just as illegal as their parents.

  • http://twitter.com/DanaZZGarcia Dana Garcia

    Many had no connections in the US when they imposed themselves here unlawfully. It’s hard to get settled in a new place — so what else is new?

    Sick of all this boo-hooey about foreign lawbreakers. They belong in their nation of citizenship, period.

  • Malcontent2

    I have absolutely no sympathy for these deportees; people who
    entered my country illegally with the explicit purpose of lying, cheating, and
    stealing from me and fellow citizens.

    If these deported criminals are being preyed upon by other
    criminals in their home country…good!

    Karma Baby!

  • Cool Cnn

    I think it is a injustice for legal immigrant to allow illegals to stay in the country. If the law does not allow them any relief then they do not qualify for the relief and they should try to change theri country it is not US responsibility ….in that case in India and china there are more than 50 500 millions poor people who do not get food for two time should we invite them here as well?

  • http://www.facebook.com/taxfreetoday LaPorre Voitec

    Honest person are truthful, Cowards are politically correct. Mexicans should start to kill on a whim for a Historically non-existent person

  • http://www.facebook.com/taxfreetoday LaPorre Voitec

    BTW, Plato/Aristotle mentioned the cowardice of politically correct people (circa 700B.C.)

  • Glauchow

    Cheap illegal labor for business. America needs to stand up and fight for enforcement of our immigration laws. Or our children will be living in a much worse world when they grow up

    No family left, because they are all in America illegally? It’s not the U.S. governments responsibility to protect those in Mexico. 

  • Damiller888

    There are so many assumptions people are making here in their comments that limit the conversation and prevent real solutions. Conclusions like ” people who

    entered my country illegally with the explicit purpose of lying, cheating, and
    stealing from me” reveal a real lack of evidence and nuanced understanding of the issues. You’ve spoken with every immigrant and you know that is their intent?  Really? You aren’t maybe simplifying a tiny bit? No? Amazing. You should publish your research. 
    The linkage of “illegal” to people is also problematic. Did some break a civil law? Yes. Does that make them “illegal”? No more than it makes a guy who robs a bank or exceeds the speed limit “illegal.” I will call everyone who ever broke a law an “illegal person.” That makes sense. So why do we  label some people as “illegal” and not others? And why is the emphasis in these comments so much on crime? Immigrants have other identities too (just like you who probably broke the law at some point in your life) – as mother, worker, student, Christian, daring adventurer  brother, etc. “Illegal” reduces their humanity, simplifies the complex problem, and is a problem oriented term rather than a solution oriented term (i.e. it stops the conversation dead in its tracks.)

    And finally, as I think the article makes clear, immigration is a complex issue with many nuances to it worth thinking about. Often times these are decent people stuck in a screwed up system. When we focus only on the legality we miss other issues related to the problem – i.e. the drug war, the environment, labor, wages, capitalism, free trade, etc etc. In short, why focus on the immigrant rather than the system they find themselves trying to survive in. 

    I suggest we criminalize the barbarity many of you are showing to your fellow human beings. Then you can try “illegal” on for size and see how it feels.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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