Young Immigrants Stage a Risky Border Protest

Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2013

Lizbeth Mateo paid her tuition Sunday for Santa Clara Law School, where classes begin next month. On Monday, she paused to send the school an email.

“I’m letting them know I may not make it in time,” she said.

The reason for her delay: an unorthodox—and risky—protest at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mateo, 29, who was brought into the United States illegally at age 10, voluntarily flew back across the border recently in a protest aimed at recognizing the thousands of people deported from the United States over the last five years as the Obama administration has struggled to adopt a long-range program for overhauling immigration laws.

The protest Monday focused on the U.S. border station in Nogales. Mateo and two other young immigrants who had been brought into the U.S. as children asked to be admitted legally across the border they had surreptitiously traversed so many years ago and had spent much of their lives trying to avoid.

The immigration debate has focused on how a sweeping bill now in Congress might affect an estimated 11 million people who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas. Lost in the debate, Mateo and other protesters say, are those already expelled from the country. Deportations have increased from just under 300,000 in 2007 to nearly 400,000 in 2011, according to federal statistics.


Monday’s action quickly grew as about 30 others spontaneously joined the petitioners at the border, taking activists by surprise. Organized by the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, the immigrants planned to ask for humanitarian parole, which would allow them into the country, or, failing that, asylum.

As part of the planned protest, the trio was joined by six other immigrants who had returned to Mexico more than a year ago. The nine were questioned and transferred to a holding facility in Florence, Ariz. Activists in contact with the attorney for the youths said that they were denied humanitarian parole and that immigration officials would consider their request for asylum while holding them in Florence.


By returning to Mexico voluntarily, the three immigrants have put themselves at considerable risk. Under an immigration package backed by the Obama administration, young immigrants deported could apply to return to the U.S. Those who leave voluntarily would not have that option, immigration experts say.


Immigration authorities offered Saavedra and Mateo the chance to apply for the Obama administration’s deferred deportation program, which allows immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children to stay in the U.S., at least temporarily.

Both declined, saying they wanted their cases adjudicated—a way of putting a spotlight on the nation’s immigration system.


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  • So CAL Snowman

    What does that say about Mexicans, when their greatest fear in the United States is being sent back to Mexico, home of the Mexicans?

    • John Smith

      Yet they carry the Mexican flag instead of the U.S. one and are more proud of Mexico and the very culture that created the situation they fled from and are afraid to return to. Is this a demographic of stupid people or what?

      • “Is this a demographic of stupid people or what?”

        It is a demographic of criminal hypocrites.

  • Manaphy

    First off, calling these Aztecs “immigrants” is an insult to all Americans who immigrated here LEGALLY and followed the rule of law. Secondly, this sort of protest is not risky or dangerous in the slightest, especially since this current administration refuses to enforce the laws on the books, and according to NubersUSA, deportations have not risen from 300,000 to 400,000 per year as this LA Times article misstates, they have actually fell from an average of 350,000 per year (Bush II & Clinton admins.) to below 100,000 per year (Obama admin.). And as for “Mateo, 29, who was brought into the United States illegally at age 10”, If you were as patriotic as you say you are, then you would acknowledge that a path to citizenship already exists, and it is called LEGAL IMMIGRATION, and it involves going back to whichever hispanic hellhole from which you originated, and getting in line, like anyone else who wants to become a citizen.

  • Spartacus

    They’re sure hiding in the shadows, aren’t they ?

    • TPP

      With the amount of taxes I pay in California, I wish I could escape to the shadows.

  • Luca

    Good idea. Now if 30 million more will just go back to Mexico and protest we might make some headway.

  • bigone4u

    The protesters should have been turned away at the US border. If I were betting, I’d bet that Mateo is sitting in class in law school the first day of class, taking up a seat that should have gone to an American citizen.

    • Non Humans

      The irony is deeper than that. How does someone who is breaking the law by virtue of their presence alone manage to end up in an institute where the laws of the land are taught and debated and ultimately create those who will one day write, modify, and or enforce the laws.
      Now That’s Totally Bass-Ackwards BS!! Since when did it become a good idea to let foreigners, illegal foreigners at that, have a hand in our judicial processes?!

      • Sick of it

        Justice Brandeis. Justice Sotomayor. That’s off the top of my head…I’m sure you can find more.

        • Allan477

          Ah, yes. Justice Sotomayor, the “wise Hispanic woman” who, after twelve years of private education still needed affirmative action to get into college.

  • Puggg

    First off, there’s been hardly any real deportations, and second, there is hardly an actual border anymore.

  • Greg Thomas

    So let me get this straight. A citizen of mexico crossed the border into their rightful country of citizenship and we transferred them back into the country to a holding facility Florence, Arizona. Did I read that correctly? If so, simply more evidence this government does not want a single invader deported.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Yep, you read it right. She went back to Mexico, showed up on the border asking to be let back into the U.S., and was transferred to a holding facility.

      The establishment can’t let even a single illegal invader stay in their homeland. They must all come to America to vote Democrat and keep wages nice and low.

      The liberals are especially keen to keep the women here, because the women will birth many young Mexicans with American citizenship, who can vote regardless of if an amnesty passes.

    • Luca

      It’s worse than that, read further: “Lost in the debate, Mateo and other protesters say, are those already expelled from the country. ”

      In other words, they want to petition for the ones that have already been deported! They want them to be allowed back in.

      I can just see 90% of the Mexican/Central American population lining up at the border claiming they had lived in the US but were deported and wish to return under Amnesty. Of course our progressive government would not dream to ask for proof or ID’s as we all know that would be racist and discriminatory, you know, just like asking for voter ID’s.

      • Greg Thomas

        You are right Luca, its worse than I first suspected. Knowing how our government has a soft spot for illegal invading mexicans; her demands will be granted.

  • Deportations have increased from just under 300,000 in 2007 to nearly 400,000 in 2011, according to federal statistics.

    Now let’s think about this. Just about the only way to get deported is to be convicted of a felony. Supposedly there are 11MM illegals in the country. If nearly 4% are being deported yearly for major crimes, we have a problem. And yet we still want to give the anchor babies more rights and privileges than White Americans. We have a major problem.

  • Greg Thomas

    Why does this worthless government continue to reward defiant, militant illegal invaders?

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Because it’s the only way to suppress wages. We can’t let those poor billionaires be forced to hire actual American citizens, who will want actual wages!

      Also, borders are racist, and being racist is the original sin. Therefore, we must transcend borders.

      • Luca

        Employers must pay at least minimum wage whether the the employee is white, black, brown, legal or not. I know of no illegal who works under the table for less than $10 -$15 per hour.

        Don’t be fooled, they are importing these people for their future voting skills as well as their children’s.

        • GeneticsareDestiny

          Employers most certainly do not have to pay minimum wage to illegals. That’s the entire point of taking the risk of hiring illegals. A business owner has to decide if the money saved by paying below minimum wage is worth the chance of the government finding out and penalizing the business.

          In the current political environment, where there are virtually no workplace immigration raids, plenty of employers are happily employing illegals for $5/hour, possibly less (with minimum wage being $7.25/hour right now).

          This is how allowing illegals into our country suppresses wages and contributes to unemployment among citizens.

          There is also the related issue to consider of the amnesty bill allowing millions more legal immigrants at every skill level over the next decade, further swamping the labor market and suppressing wages even more. This is why you see billionaires like Mark Zuckerburg spending so much money trying to force the bill through. It will save him and people like him billions in wages.

          You are right though that they’re importing voters. The Democrats can’t wait to bestow citizenship on every possible immigrant, no matter how criminal, and the Republicans are too scared to oppose it. Despicable.

          • Luca

            With all due respect, I hope that you see you are contradicting yourself. You say the Zuckerberg types are pushing for amnesty, but in fact, that would destroy their supply of illegal labor and they will be forced to pay legal wages.

            I live in So. Cal and I have never heard of any illegal working for below $10 per hour. If I went to Home Depot right now, and asked for someone at $5 per hour they would laugh at me and flip the bird. Cities and county entities here have higher than federal minimum wage laws and send inspectors to job-sites asking the workers what they are paid and never once asking citizenship status.

            What happens is a legitimate business will hire 50% of their work force legally at prevailing wage (say $20 per hour with benefits) and the rest of low-skilled illegals will get $10 an hour without benefits.

            Voting for amnesty will make this nice little arrangement disappear. So why would they vote for it?

          • GeneticsareDestiny

            You are correct; there is indeed a hole in my argument. Perhaps I have been misinformed about the wages illegals generally work for.

            That being said, legalizing the illegals would only bring wages up to $7.25/hour (unless they are already working for more), which is still very low. Companies might be willing to pay a couple more dollars if it means they no longer have to worry about raids, infrequent though they may be.

            And even post-legalization, the presence of the former-illegals (and really any immigrants, even those with legitimate work visas) will continue to lower wages for Americans.

          • MBlanc46

            It’s not only the hourly wage, either. There are all the associated labor costs–medical insurance, unemployment insurance, social social security and medicare taxes, overtime, vacation time–that are avoided with illegals.

  • George

    Black crime? I’d support it for black parking tickets.
    A&E’s ‘Parking Wars’ would become far more entertaining…

  • MBlanc46

    “By returning to Mexico voluntarily, the three immigrants have put themselves at considerable risk.”

    Risk? What risk? These people have merely returned to the country of the birth and their legal citizenship. What’s risky about that? Now, living illegally in another country, that would be risky.

    • Greg Thomas

      Unless that country just happens to be the United States. Then there’s zero risk and many rewards.