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Jeremy Slack on the Human Tragedy of Deportation

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A man looks at rocks painted with crosses calling for justice, in allusion to deaths resulting from drug cartels’ struggle for control in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on May 28th, 2008.

When Jeremy Slack got a call from an activist at a soup kitchen for deportees in Sonora, Mexico, in the spring of 2013, he knew what he had to do. Juanito, a soft-spoken young man in his twenties, had been deported. Slack had first met Juanito in a prison in the United States in October of 2012, when Slack was a researcher with the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies. Slack and a journalist friend rushed to the border with a video camera to record an interview, which Juanito himself had requested, in case something were to happen to him again. (Juanito is a pseudonym.)

For the next three hours, they sat in a migrant shelter while Juanito, his legs shaking, spoke at length about being kidnapped, extorted, and tortured by the Zetas cartel, one of the most notorious drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. He described having his fingernails pulled out and being forced to cut bodies open to extract organs the cartel could traffic. But after seven months in captivity, Juanito had managed to escape. While on a mission to transport marijuana across the border for the cartel, he deliberately left tracks, thinking that his only chance at survival would be for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to find him. And it worked: Juanito was apprehended and sent to serve time in prison until his deportation in 2013. So when Juanito and Slack reunited in Mexico that year, he knew the cartel could get him at any moment.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !