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April 06, 2008

The Sad Life Of Deported Mexican Invaders

Posted in: Deportation

Seattle Times

MEXICO CITY — Ana Reyes walks briskly through a crowded neighborhood here, out of place among the provocatively dressed women of the night soliciting work in the middle of the day.

The 41-year-old mother of four slips through the entrance of a clothing store, its racks thick with the latest fashion, a sign on the door indicating the shop is hiring female assistants.

She approaches the manager about the job but is told it’s only for women 20 to 30 years old.

Manager Maria Inez elaborates when prompted: “A younger girl will be able to bring more male customers into the store. She’s too old.”

Ten months after she was picked up by immigration officers in an early-morning raid of her Burien home and soon deported to Mexico, Reyes — jobless and broke — struggles to eke out the barest existence in the dirt-poor barrios of one of the world’s biggest and most crowded cities.

After nearly two decades picking hops and fruit in Eastern Washington and cleaning hotel rooms near Seattle, she was among more than 870,000 Mexicans the U.S. government expelled from the country last year.

For all the attention illegal immigrants get in the U.S. — from those who believe they’re a drain on social services to advocates who say they do the jobs Americans won’t — little is known about what happens to them after they’re ushered by U.S. immigration authorities through revolving doors into Mexico’s border towns.

Once there, they get little help from their government. Many stay, others try to get back to their hometowns. For the most part no one tracks them — not their government, or the U.S., or their advocacy groups in the states. They become largely forgotten — along with the U.S.-born children they sometimes take with them.

Reyes’ two adult sons, Christian and Carlos Quiroz, whom she and her then-husband had brought illegally into the U.S. as little boys, were also returned to Mexico last year.

And with no family in the U.S., Reyes’ two American daughters, Julie Quiroz, now 13, and Sharise Hernandez, 6, have also joined her here.

Now, unable to find work in a city she left 18 years ago, Reyes shuffles between the cramped homes of a brother and a sister in neighborhoods so unsafe her children aren’t allowed outside to play.

Neither daughter is in school.

Grab a tissue and read more. Sniff, sniff.

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