• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

At first, I was scared to share this story about me getting deported. First of all, I am not a good writer yet. I am only 16 years old. English is my second language. Spanish is my first. So when I decided to tell this story, I asked my English teacher to help me. I am telling this to him right now and he is writing it because he thinks people should know about my story in my own words. I’m also scared to tell this story because it is true, it is painful, and it affects me to this present day. I no longer feel safe walking around in public, but this is supposed to be my home-- where I live and go to school. This is supposed to be the land of opportunity and freedom, and that is all I am hoping for, even though it’s hard for me to believe in now. The following story was originally written by me, but most of the grammar and spelling errors were corrected with the help of my teacher (Mr. Carrillo), who understands that sometimes the rules just don’t make sense.

Everything began the morning of May 20 of 2009 at 8:02 am on my way to school. I was in Old Town waiting for the bus that I usually take to get to school. That morning was different. When I saw that the bus arrived, I walked toward it as usual. But when raising my right foot on the bus, a man with normal civilian clothes got close to me. He pulled my arm, asked for my name and, in a matter of seconds, showed me his badge he had in his jacket. It was like a quick snap and I didn’t really get to see what it said on the badge. I tried to ignore the guys because, first of all, I didn’t know him and second, I didn’t do anything bad. I turned around and tried to get on the bus again to get to school but things got worse. He pulled at me again and started asking me serious questions.

More people started to come and gather around me. That’s when I realized something serious was going on. They kept on asking me questions about my name, where I live, and if I was born here, but I simply replied to them: “I don’t know you and I’m not going to answer your questions.” All I heard come from his mouth clearly was “I’m an agent,” and I started to get scared. He insisted and kept on asking me and as I saw more people were coming. I started to get more nervous and more scared. Another agent asked me what my name was and where I was from. I didn’t know what to say. I felt like I was in a movie. So I said what they said in the movies. I told them I wanted to make a phone call and that I needed to speak with my lawyer. They said “NO!” forcefully, then “Answer our questions!” So I told them in Spanish “Compa no voy a responder tus preguntas hasta que haga una llamada,” meaning: “Friend, I’m not going to answer your questions till I make a call.” The agent got angrier and came close to my face and aggressively responded in Spanish: “Yo no soy tu compa y si quieres problemas you will have them with me!” meaning: “I am not your friend and if you want problems (you will have them with me!)” I said to him that I did not want problems. All I wanted was to make a call because they were strangers. And I was afraid and confused. I didn’t know what to do.

The agents gave me the feeling that if I didn’t answer something could go very wrong, so when they asked me again where I was born I simply replied to them: “Mexico.” That was a fact—but I didn’t think it was a problem. Maybe because I had lived here for such a long time, attending school and making good friends. But they didn’t care. All they said to me was “Stand up!” and took away my school folder and handcuffed me. At that point I felt so bad and embarrassed because they were doing all this in front of my friends and also because there was nothing I could do as a minor. I didn’t know it at that moment, and maybe they didn’t know it either, but I was considered a “minor” because I was only 14. They walked me toward the parking lot where they were all hiding— like they were camping out before a sports event. I remember asking the guy grabbing my handcuffed hands: “What type of agent are you?” All he said was “Immigration agent.” Another agent with civilian clothes searched me. He checked me to see if I had any drugs or weapons or things like that. They took my Ipod for “security reasons” and seated me on the floor.

In back of me there was a young girl who was crying. I realized later that it was another minor-- a student that was probably going to get deported along with me. Alongside me, there were two other agents that were young-- around the age of 20. I kept asking them if I could make a call, and they finally replied to me, “No, not until we process you.” Later I asked another agent, and he said the same thing “No.” They were good at ignoring me—like I wasn’t even there. Later a different agent approached dressed in green with his immigration uniform on. He told me “Stand up. We’re going to put you in the back of the truck, but first I have to check you.” I said, “They already did.” Without caring what I said, he grabbed my arm hard and pushed my head towards the truck, hitting the right side of my face and head on the door. Pressing his elbow on the back of my head and holding my hands, he began to check me. He pulled my wallet out and in an angry tone he asked me “You know why you are here?” I said “No”. He told me, “You’re here because you’re illegal and don’t have proper identification.” I told him that I was on my way to school. I had homework to turn in. He ignored me and didn’t respond. He tightened his hand around my fingers, cracking them, and then let go of me and by pushing me in the back of the truck.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


K. Aitken July 26, 2011 @ 9:02 a.m.

Raul, you are so brave to tell your story. I can't imagine that happening to anyone, let alone a boy of 14. Thank you for sharing with us.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!