Deported and All Alone
Yolanda — My deportation process took longer than usual. It was very late, nearly midnight. I had refused to sign any documents that would have speeded up the process because I wanted to see a judge. I wanted to explain my situation. I wanted to ask whether there was any way I could stay. I worried what would happen to my daughter, my job, apartment, bank account, and car. My head was spinning, and I still refused to sign.
They stuck me in a small, dark room — perhaps to pressure me. After some time, they let me out of the room and asked me if I was ready to sign. I said no. A female agent took my hands, fingerprinted me, and told me to remove my clothes. I asked her why I should do that since I had not been caught with contraband. She said she didn't care. She put on gloves and searched me wherever she pleased. I was humiliated. She twisted my arm as she handcuffed me, which caused great pain in my shoulder. I asked if she could loosen the handcuffs and she told me to shut up.
Because they don’t deport women at night [at the Tecate port of entry], they sent me to the one at San Ysidro/Tijuana. There, they finally removed the handcuffs. My shoulder had been dislocated. My arm fell and I felt a sharp jolt. They didn’t care. They did not give me anything for the pain.
Around one in the morning, they took me to a large room filled with women from all over the world. There was nowhere to sit or lay down. I dropped to the floor and started crying like a crazy woman. Near me was a woman from Brazil. We somehow managed to communicate, and she told me not to cry and she held me. Other women joined us on the floor. It was the first time I ever formed a circle with other women. We talked about our individual experiences until we fell asleep.
The following morning, they handcuffed us again, chained us inside a truck, drove us across a bridge, and marched us single file through a revolving door into Tijuana. There was no one there to help us — no Mexican authorities, no civil society groups, nobody. I was terrified. I had known that this was a dangerous place, one where people are assaulted, raped, and killed.
Eventually, everyone went their own way and I was left alone. I wanted to run back into the United States. Perhaps that way I would be arrested and finally get to see a judge. I didn’t run, though. Instead, I noticed a giant Mexican flag. At that moment, I became filled with hatred, not for Mexico but for its government, for the system. I knew how much I didn’t want to be here, and I realized what lay ahead.