With President Donald Trump’s January 25 executive order – which allows Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents to arrest a larger number of undocumented immigrants, even those who haven’t committed crimes – deportations will likely increase. And as this happens, many people will be forced to return to countries they haven’t seen in years, or even decades. When they step foot in their native countries, they may not even have anyone to turn to for help. In Mexico City, a collective is attempting to alleviate this already dispiriting situation. Members of Deportados Unidos En La Lucha – made up of people who the United States has deported – head to the Mexico City International Airport every Tuesday to meet new arrivals. The group helps the deportees hitch a ride or contact family members. They also tell them about the resources available to them.
Ana Laura López began the group after the US government deported her. Ana Laura, who worked organizing for labor rights in Chicago, ended up back in Mexico fifteen years after she left. She left behind her children and is barred from reentering the US for two decades, according to Conexión Migrante.
In September 2016, she launched Deportados Unidos En La Lucha, with the hopes of making the transition as smooth as possible for other deported immigrants and to put pressure on the government, which isn’t doing enough to help those in this situation. Ana Laura is also pushing for legal aid, because the end goal for many who deportees is to be reunited with their loved ones in the US.
“The most urgent thing is receiving legal assistance, generating programs so that deportees have access to housing loans, jobs, and health [insurance],” she told Conexión Migrante. “We don’t want the next ones to go through the same calvary that we’ve suffered.”
In the meantime, Deportados Unidos has started a print shop that sells anti-Trump tees. According to AJ+, the group hopes it will provide jobs to deportees.
Learn more about the group in AJ+’s video: