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A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Feb. 20-27, 2012

The Week in Mexico : Immigration and deportation

• Veracruz man says he was deported after El Cajon traffic stop
• Los Angeles County supervisors apologize for Depression-era deportations; state monument on issue unveiled
• Time magazine joins bandwagon saying Latinos will decide U.S. presidential election, but is that true?

By David Gaddis Smith

     As I wandered around eastern Tijuana last week, waiting Manuelfor my daughter's car to get fixed, I kept running into Mexicans who had been deported. One, who was wearing a Zoo York T-shirt, was named Manuel. He said he had been working in construction in El Cajon and that a friend there gave him a ride. It turned out, he said, that the friend had an outstanding ticket and was stopped by police. While the friend had papers, Manuel did not. He said he was turned over to U.S. immigration authorities and then deported to Tijuana. Manuel, 30, said he had crossed into Mexico with $200, found a room to rent for $100, spent $40 and then had the other $60 stolen when he was beaten up in the nearby Mexico Lindo neighborhood. He had bruises and a cut on his nose. He said he had found a construction job and planned to try to save enough money to get back to his native Veracruz. Asked whether he had gone to the Veracruz aquarium when he lived there, he said he had lived just blocks away from it but had only visited it once. I forgot to mention to him that Tijuana has been helping sponsor bus rides for deported immigrants back toward their home areas. Also, on Monday (Feb. 27), a program to fly deportees back to their home areas was announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poiré in Mexico City. Story, U-T San Diego.

     Immigration issues such as Mitt Romney's self-deportation plan for illegal immigrants are likely to play a role in voting in Tuesday's (Feb. 28) Arizona Republican presidential primary. Time magazine time coverreports that the Obama campaign is opening its fourth field office in the state, thinking it might be able to win the state John McCain won by nine points in 2008 on the strength of the Latino vote and compensate, say, for the loss of an Ohio or a Wisconsin. Time's cover headline, "Yo Decido: Why Latinos Will Pick the Next President," may or may not be true. Writer Michael Scherer says Bush won more than 40% of the Latino vote in 2004, which some scholars say is not true. While the theory that Latinos will hold the key to the election may or may not hold this year, it certainly could be true in future elections. While it was interesting to see the New York Times report on Monday (Feb. 27) about an immigrant-bashing fatigue of sorts in Arizona, immigration expert Roberto Suro in a recent speech in San Diego said he did not see negative reaction to immigration losing much steam any time soon. "Skepticism about government has increased. There's been a loss of confidence in national identity — all of the conditions that all the classic literature about nativism will tell you produces reaction," he said.

     Perhaps to put it in historical perspective, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week apologized for the mass deportation of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans during the Depression. On Sunday (Feb. 26), a granite monument marking the deportations was unveiled at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Los Angeles. Story by Vanessa Martinez, CSU Fullerton Daily Titan. Among those in attendance were U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and actress Eva Longoria. SB 670, an apology to those forcibly removed that was passed by the California legislature in 2005, said a plaque "shall be installed and maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation at an appropriate public place in Los Angeles."

     On Feb. 18, the Los Angeles Times' Richard Marosi had a piece on non-citizen veterans' protesting their possible deportation to Mexico.

Blogdowntown story on Sunday's monument unveiling.

San Francisco Chronicle story on Time identifying an Asian-American on its cover as a Latino.

Los Angeles Times story on Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu's campaign for Republican U.S. House nomination tripped up by Mexican gay ex-lover.

Jay Leno on the new U.S. travel warning for Mexico and how it relates to Arizona.

The Week in Mexico Feb. 5-12
The Week in Mexico Feb. 13-20
The Week in Mexico Feb. 28-March 6 (Education)