Back in May, Maria Juarez, a Detroiter who was brought to the United States as an infant, was deported for crimes she committed as a teenager.
Despite her efforts to fight the deportation order, she found out at the airport that she would get no reprieve from the federal government and was then sent to Mexico, a place she hasn’t been since she was a baby.
Maria is now separated from her small child and her leukemia-stricken husband who remain in Detroit. Bridge Magazine reporter Chastity Pratt Dawsey has been following Maria’s story for months, even before she was deported.
Pratt Dawsey recently went down to Mexico to find out what Maria’s living conditions are like and to get an update on the story.
She speaks with Detroit Today producer Jake Neher about her recent trip to Mexico and Maria’s situation.
“It’s very different from Southwest Detroit,” says Pratt Dawsey. “It’s very sparse living where she is.”
She says they met with a number of people from Detroit and other areas of the country who have also been deported.
“You talk to them for five minutes and their emotions are right there at the top,” she says.
“Young men, even, ready to just break down. Because they have literally been extracted from their lives and dropped off in a country they don’t know.”
Pratt Dawsey says Juarez describes the deportation as a “shock to her soul.”
“Her whole identity was tied to living in America her whole life and now she’s an American in Mexico,” she says.
“However, when she was in America she was not considered an American… In America she was treated as a Mexican in America. And now, in Mexico, she’s treated as an American in Mexico.”