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What set off his deportation troubles in 2016 was his own call to police, after Rebecca confronted him outside their apartment about the excessive hours he was working. “I tried to pull her inside, because I knew a neighbor might get mad, and then I called the police myself, because I thought that would go better,” he said. He said his lawyer advised him there was no way to beat the charge and that the only way to put it behind him would be to plead guilty and serve the sentence – nine days – which is what he ended up doing.“It was the only thing we argued about,” Rebecca said in a telephone interview. Alfonso had come to the United States from Mexico City as soon as he turned 18, and quickly found work in a butcher shop.
“Camille”, Benjamin’s US-citizen wife, would get to spend only a few hours with him in Nuevo Laredo, before returning to be with their two-year-old son and one-year-old daughter.But his mother, a legal resident of the United States, was planning to ride the bus with Benjamin to help keep him safe on the way to staying with relatives in Toluca, near Mexico City.All of Benjamin’s seven brothers and sisters have legal status in the United States, whether as citizens or holders of visas or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival permits, and Benjamin, the youngest, was hoping, within a year, to get legal status, as Camille’s husband. When Benjamin was 11, his widowed mother moved him from Toluca to Dallas to be near the older children who had emigrated.(Our recommendations for rights-respecting immigration reform can be read here.) Every day, people who call the United States home—including the mothers and fathers of US citizen children, tax-paying employees, and respected community members---are being arrested, locked up, and deported under a system that often does not even weigh their deep and longstanding ties in the balance.
Our researchers have traveled to interview people who have recently been deported—or are facing potential deportation---since President Trump was elected. For 29-year-old “Alfonso B.” and his US-citizen wife, “Rebecca,” there’s a cruel irony to his deportation: the chain of events that led to it began with an argument over him needing to spend more time with the family.“My mom and my brothers kept telling me to stop, that there were other ways, but I was too depressed to hear them.” In 2013, after a cook-out at a friend’s house, he said police stopped him for driving 10 miles-an-hour over the limit on a freeway and arrested him for driving while intoxicated.