1. He bought a table at a garage sale. On his way back to his truck, a man started beating him up, accusing him of being a dirty Mexican thief. Turns out the guy didn’t want that table sold and took it out on the person buying it. Turns out this guy was also a cop. Turns out this guy accused him of assault and robbery. Seven months in prison, beat up by guards on a regular basis until it comes out that because he now has a felony on his record (assault and robbery, against a cop), he’s supposed to lose his permanent residence. He gets handed over to I.C.E. (immigration and customs enforcement), where he looks so bad (his head is bruised, he has lost sight in one eye) that they feel sorry for him. Do you know what it takes ICE to feel sorry for you?
He spends some time in detention. He gets deported. Now “free,” trapped on the wrong side of a wall from his whole family, but still “free,” he has sent in a lot of complaint forms to the police department, corrections department, everyone – but he is told, “this happened more than six months ago. It’s too late to complain.” Even though he was in jail for those whole six months.
He has a letter from his 17-year old son with the rest of his papers (copies of IDs, green card, deportation orders, turnstile replies from various judicial agencies). He says, “I’m in a very hard class this year. It’s called AP Economics. If I take a test for it in May, maybe I can get college credit.”
2. They threw away his epilepsy medication (Dilantin) when he was in custody. He had seizures in detention. They deported him anyway, medicationless, wouldn’t even give back his prescriptions or let him keep the empty bottles for reference. He was very, very worried he would have another seizure, he didn’t know what to do. It has been ten days without pills. We were able to accompany him to the hospital and they refilled his prescription for free. Mexican government: 1. US governement: 0.
3. His son hasn’t called home (Nayarit, Mexico) in three years. He came north to cross and go look for him in Tucson. He got here and realized he might not make it across the desert – he is pretty old. Now he doesn’t know. Go back, have no idea what has happened to his son, or go try to find him? J.C., 26, Tucson. Call your dad.
4. He wants to call the Mexican consulate because he was deported and his two (US-citizen) kids are alone.
5. He got robbed on the way here and no longer has the phone numbers of – anyone. Or any money. No yellow-pages for small pueblos in southern mexico.
6. He whispered his name. He had a tracheoctomy and offers to buy my voice, jokingly. He’s from Chicago, he knows my hometown, his brother is in Missouri, he thought, but the phone number is disconnected. He supposes he’ll go to Chiapas because he’s not going to try to cross the desert with this hole in his throat.
So many lost voices and hearts. Most people just spend the days waiting.