Post-Election, Part II: Deportee, by Mari Bailey

14 Mar


The photo was haunting.  It showed the tear-stained face of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, seen through the grill of a van as she sat waiting to be deported back to her native Mexico.  Treated like a dangerous criminal. Hand-cuffed.  Arrested.  Caged.

Guadalupe had lived in this country undocumented since she was 14.  She was allowed to stay as long as she reported yearly to immigration officials.  She did this for 22 years.  Apparently, under the new administration, it was not enough.  The new administration insists that immigrants who have been charged with a criminal offense become a priority for deportation.  Her crime?  She used a fake social security number in order to find work.

She has two children, American citizens.  And a husband, undocumented, but here.  For now.  The family has been wrenched apart.  The so-called president does not care.

He gave the executive order for deportation saying it was needed “to ensure the public safety of the American people.”  He doesn’t care one iota about our safety. Guadalupe was no threat to the safety of the American people.   The so-called president and his minions are far more dangerous than she ever was.

Yet check-points and barriers have been set up and people are being “rounded up.”  Check-points and barriers much like WWII.  Nazis arresting innocent people.   Going backward again.

Folk legend Woody Guthrie wrote a song in response and protest to the January 28, 1948 crash of a plane in California and to the way it was reported in the news.  The plane carried 32 people, 4 Americans and 28 migrant farm workers who were being deported from California back to Mexico.

The names of all four Americans were listed in the papers and on the radio, but not one of the Mexican farm workers was named.  The haunting refrain from the song is, “You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane, all they will call you will be ‘deportees.’”

The song continues: “They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.”

In today’s news, because of our so-called president, the immigrant workers are once again rounded up, chased like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.  Their only crime is in wanting to work and to support their families.  To improve their lives.

All he will call them are just deportees.

Artwork by David Duckworth, graphite on paper, 9 x 12 in. For biography on author, please consult February 13, 2017 post.

Note: For current information about a book and film project documenting the lives of the unnamed in Guthrie’s song, please visit the following website to learn what Tim Z. Hernandez has done in this regard:

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