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His Parents Were Deported Before and He Fears It Could Happen Again

His Parents Were Deported Before and He Fears It Could Happen Again

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Last week, ICE targeted more than 2,000 immigrants in a series of highly-publicized raids, but only 35 arrests were confirmed. That number is significantly lower than expected or announced by President Donald Trump.

In cities like New York and Houston, people acted fast to inform families of their rights and what to do in the case of an encounter with ICE officials.  

There is nothing hypothetical about the fear surrounding deportation for a 19-year-old we’ll call A.B. He said his parents were both deported when he was a child, though they have been back with him in the United States for many years now.

YR Media’s Emiliano Villa spoke with A.B. about how his family is handling the renewed threat of ICE raids.

We’re using A.B.’s initials in consideration of his safety and his parents’. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

EV: How did the news of last week’s ICE raids make you feel?

AB: I’ve been feeling anxious. Coming from an immigrant family, the recent headlines on the news had a really huge impact on the way I go about my daily life. The fact that it’s been at the forefront of social media, it’s made me more sensitive. It impacts me emotionally because I have two parents that are affected, both undocumented and with the risk of getting deported. It also makes me feel for the rest of my community. 

EV: Why is it that you’re so protective of your parents?

AB: The reason I’m protective, is because I’ve gone through this. My dad has been deported twice and my mom has been deported once. On our way to a church retreat, we were stopped at a checkpoint and detained by ICE. My mom chose to voluntarily deport herself. When we came back home, my parents sat us down and explained to us that me, my younger sibling, and my mother would be going to Mexico on a “vacation.” Both my oldest brother and my dad stayed here. Later I found out it was actually my mom’s deportation. 

EV: Do you worry about your parents more now? 

AB: I’m working a lot this summer, so I’m not at home as much. It’s made me think more about my parents’ safety when I’m at work. I’m constantly texting them to tell them to be careful because ICE could be in the area. I’m always looking up Facebook pages to see where there could be ICE checkpoints. I actually have my mom share her location with me and I’m constantly checking it. I’m constantly on guard for my parents because I don’t want them to get deported again.

EV: Have you had any conversations with your family about what you would do if they were deported again?

AB: We’ve had the occasional talk, but I’ve never had them sit me and my siblings down and tell us, ‘If this ever happens, you would have to do this and this.’ It [their plans for deportation] has just been them holding onto that small gleam of hope that it would never happen again, so why talk to us about it? 

EV: What does it feel like to be in the same situation again?

AB: I feel comfort, at the same time, frustration. I feel comfort because I know that I’ve been through this situation already. I would relive past trauma but I feel like I would be a bit more prepared because I’ve already gone through that emotional distress. But it also makes me feel very frustrated because we have to go through this again.

EV: Do you have any advice for families going through this?

AB: There’s no one thing I can tell someone that would make the situation better for them. I think in times like this, one of the biggest things that people should do, is community building. This past summer, I’ve had time to work with a lot of different organizations that go to places [where] people have spotted undercover ICE vehicles and protect them.

NOTE: YR Media could not independently verify details of AB’s story.

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