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*sniff-sniff* Oh, MY. I MAY need a HANKIE! (What bleeding-heart BS.)
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Posted by: TEEBONE ®

02/11/2018, 16:20:59

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latimes.com

'It's so hard right now': For a mother who self-deported to Mexico, days of feeling lost


Brittny Mejia



Maria
Barrancas stood in the backyard of her mother-in-law’s home, alone but
for a pig and some hens. It had been about a week since she packed up
her life in Gardena and left for Mexico with her partner and their two
children.

There, in the small, dusty Sinaloa town of El Aguaje,
the isolation hit her. Her three older children were still in
California. She was in a country she hardly remembered, having left for
the U.S. 32 years ago at age 15.

She broke down in tears but wiped
them away before walking inside to her family. She didn’t want them to
see that she was afraid.


Ricardo Madrigal stands in the barred doorway of his family's new home
in Tlaquepaque. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Alejandro Madrigal, 3, runs around while mom, Maria Barrancas, cleans
up after dinner in a small porch off the kitchen of their rented home in
Mexico. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Left, Ricardo Madrigal stands in the barred doorway of his family's new
home in Tlaquepaque. Left, Alejandro Madrigal, 3, runs around while his
mother, Maria Barrancas, cleans up after dinner in a small porch off
the kitchen of their rented home in Mexico. (Brian van der Brug / Los
Angeles Times)

Back in their
two-bedroom apartment in Gardena, Barrancas and Ricardo Madrigal had
dreamed of one day owning a home nearby. They made money buying and
selling used cars. Every other day, Barrancas would see her
then-21-year-old daughter, Cynthia, and granddaughter Hailee, who lived
five minutes away.

But all that felt stable came unmoored when
Donald Trump was elected president. Barrancas watched as Trump said he
did not want people like her and Madrigal in a country he boasted he’d
make great again, in part, by getting rid of them.

The
couple were in the country illegally. Jobs already felt hard to come by,
and the anti-immigrant climate added to their stress.

They decided to leave in August, heading for a border they had long avoided — a process some refer to as “self-deporting.”

In
Tijuana, their daughter, Luz, then 6, clung to them, sobbing to go
back. Barrancas held her tight and told her everything would be OK.

“We’re starting a new life today,” she said.

The
family stopped briefly in El Aguaje before driving six hours to
Tlaquepaque, in the Mexican state of Jalisco. They had chosen to move
there because it felt safer than Sinaloa — where they were both born —
and because Madrigal’s sister lived there.

They
had enough money saved to breathe easy for a little while. But with
Luz’s private school costing $100 a month, plus about $130 for rent, $50
for water and electricity and even more for gas and food, they would
need an income within eight months.

The prospect of making $50 a
week — or the average minimum wage in Mexico of about $5 a day — working
for someone else held little interest for them. So when Luz would leave
for school in the mornings, Barrancas and Madrigal would head out with
their 3-year-old son, searching for a place where they could open a
business.

They wanted to work together again, like they had in
California. In their car, they passed men on horses clopping along
graffiti-marked streets and overgrown lots.

The plan had been to
run a mechanic’s shop. Barrancas also considered opening a restaurant
because she thought the food she cooked was better than most she’d had
so far. Anytime they saw a sign for rent, they would get the number and
set up an appointment, visiting 20 different places. Each time, they
were shown around a space that was too small, with a rent that was too
high.

When they saw spaces available at a plaza right outside of
Villa Fontana, where they lived, they grew excited. The owner was from
California, and they thought the location was perfect.

In English,
the owner said they’d have to pay 25,000 pesos a month, over $1,000,
put down three months’ deposit and agree to a three-year lease. When the
couple got home, they did the math, totaling up the down payment, the
deposit and additional fees. They didn’t know if they’d make it one
year, let alone three.

It was too great a risk.



Maria Barrancas looks over homework for daughter, Luz Madrigal, 7,
before school in Tlaquepaque. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Luz Madrigal, 7, talks with father, Ricardo Madrigal, in front of her
new school in Tlaquepaque. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Ricardo Madrigal watches as his daughter Luz walks to her classroom. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Top, Maria Barrancas looks over homework for daughter Luz Madrigal
before school in Tlaquepaque, Mexico. Left, Luz Madrigal talks with her
father, Ricardo Madrigal, in front of her new school in Tlaquepaque.
Right, Ricardo Madrigal watches as his daughter, Luz, walks to her
classroom. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Before
they left Gardena, Luz had told her father she wanted a house. He
promised to build it for her in Mexico. He would even plant trees in the
backyard.

Months passed, but Madrigal, 40, couldn’t find the right land.

“I brought Luz on lies,” he said. “It hurts me not to fulfill my promise, to give her what she wants in her life.”

The couple had enchanted Luz with ideas of better things to come. They even convinced themselves.

“We had it in our minds that it was a beautiful place,” Barrancas said. “Now we know it was a tale that we were telling Luz.”

Maybe if things didn’t get better, Madrigal said more than once, they should go back to California.

When those conversations came up, Barrancas shut him down. If he left, she wouldn’t go with him.

It
wasn’t that she loved Mexico — in fact, she hated what she’d seen so
far. She hated the overgrown weeds in front of the town homes, with no
homeowner’s association to regulate appearances; she hated how many cars
she saw broken down, tires popped off by poor road conditions; she
hated that sometimes she couldn’t understand words in Spanish; and she
especially hated the burden she’d left on Cynthia’s shoulders to keep
track of her 31- and 28-year-old brothers back in California.

But
in crossing the border, she felt she had made a decision that was
irreversible. The only way she could return to the U.S. would be to
cross illegally.

“I’m not happy here, but I don’t want to go that
way again,” she said. “I’m not going back, regardless of the situation.
If I don’t have papers, I’ll stay here.”



Maria Barrancas, hangs laundry in the front yard of her rented home in
the town of Tlaquepaque. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Luz Madrigal looks over her birthday cake for her school party a Guadalajara Costco. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Maria Barrancas gets into her car to go out for a shopping trip in the
town of Tlaquepaque. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Maria Barrancas sorts through boxes stored in a small bedroom of her
family's rented home in Mexico. All of their belongings did not fit in
the home. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Clockwise from top left, Maria Barrancas hangs laundry in the front
yard of her rented home in the town of Tlaquepaque, Mexico. Luz Madrigal
looks over her birthday cake for her school party a Guadalajara Costco.
Maria Barrancas sorts through boxes stored in a small bedroom of her
family's rented home in Mexico. All of their belongings did not fit in
the home. Maria Barrancas gets into her car to go shopping in
Tlaquepaque. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Barrancas
put aside her frustration that she didn’t see her sister-in-law as
often as she’d like, that it didn’t feel safe to walk around Tlaquepaque
at night and that she didn’t feel at home. She focused instead on
making sure her children didn’t feel as lost as she did.

The few
words little Alejandro knew in English became Spanish. And Luz, who
worried before the move that she wouldn’t have playmates, befriended a
neighbor and students in her first-grade class.

Barrancas
practiced the Mexican national anthem with Luz, who admitted that she
was forgetting the Pledge of Allegiance she’d say every morning before
class in Gardena.

Luz still struggled with rolling her Rs and
figuring out when to use “mi” and “me,” but she worked hard to get
perfect 10s in her classes. When her parents met with the school
psychologist in October, she told them Luz was gifted.

One
November morning, Barrancas sat parked outside the metal gates of her
daughter’s school. She watched with a smile as Luz, looking lost, found a
couple of friends to sit with.

To comfort themselves with
familiarity, the family would make frequent trips to the Costco in
nearby Zapopan. Luz’s favorite pepperoni pizza, the hot dogs, the
red-and-white Kirkland umbrellas outside and the American products
lining the aisles reminded them of home. When she turned 7 in November,
Luz picked out her gift at Costco.

For all her struggles, Barrancas did not admit regret over leaving.

“I
might be suffering, I don’t feel like I’m in the right place, but I
think it was the right decision,” she said. “It’s so hard right now, but
I have faith that we’re going to do it over here.”

3029205_me_dual-citizenship_BRV

Alejandro Madrigal, 3, plays games on an iPad as his father, Ricardo,
carries him back to the car after an outing at Lake Chapala, Mexico. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

By December, four months had passed since the family left for Mexico. They had let Thanksgiving pass without mentioning it.

A
trip to Agua Verde, Sinaloa, to visit Madrigal’s sister was the bright
spot in what felt like months of darkness. The family had visited the
beach and Madrigal had gone fishing, catching robalo and shrimp. It was
the first time in months that Barrancas had seen a real smile on his
face.

In the way they had romanticized Jalisco from afar, they had
feared Sinaloa. But they came to understand that everywhere in Mexico
was dangerous. At least in Sinaloa, both of their families were close
by. They needed those bonds to succeed.

At Christmas, the family headed to Culiacán, Sinaloa, to celebrate with Barrancas’ brother.

Luz
spent the trip running around with her cousins. Barrancas’ brother
asked why the couple wasn’t selling cars as they had in Gardena.

In
January, Barrancas and Madrigal headed to Tijuana to pick up cars and
start working once more. If things went well, Barrancas said, they would
adapt their plans to the new reality they found and move to Sinaloa.

At long last, they would come home.

3029205_me_dual-citizenship_BRV
The sun sets on Lake Chapala, where the Madrigal family was visiting. Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times









LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATE

Democrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.





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