Aspen, CO — The inmates of a cattle ranch in Tenancingo, Mexico are in for a harsh winter.
During a visit to the city recently, I saw for myself how families are living without heat. Many have been living in the chicken coops for three months.
Michael Boyle knew those conditions were hazardous when he packed up his family and left the United States. But he hoped for a better life in Mexico after being released from a Texas jail for immigration offenses. Boyle, along with hundreds of other Americans who have been caught up in U.S. immigration policy, has been forced to live under incredibly difficult conditions. He hopes the Obama administration will ease its immigration crackdown on the street, and provide a better deal to unauthorized immigrants.
“I ask the White House to do something, not just for me, but for all of these others who have been detained, abused and denied any possibility of getting a better future in America,” Boyle told me.
Many of Boyle’s undocumented friends who live in Texas are facing another set of dire circumstances after the federal government started to give fingerprinting as a means of apprehension for undocumented immigrants. Now they can be arrested and deported with the same muscle as America’s laws.
Is this the worst experience Boyle has ever had?
In an exclusive interview, Boyle revealed he was deported in January. He was a keen hockey player before getting into legal trouble. The crackdown was his undoing. After prison, Boyle was eager to return to the only country he had ever known. But his home in Texas was gone.
The poor living conditions in Tenancingo and Bauerbach City have attracted a lot of attention. But an independent web site is airing another underreported story. It’s a nation of nearly 200,000 people who have been put into the Federal Bureau of Prisons and sent to a facility in Mexico. Once there, deported people cannot even visit family members. They are only granted minutes.
For many of them, the “Family Visit” hour program has morphed into an exhausting mass of activity. It’s bad enough to speak to just one family member without having to meet as many as six.
Mexico calls their country home, but these Americans don’t get to share a meal or participate in community life. For others, the life of a parolee in this North American country is not much better. Almost all the parolees have been ordered deported. Many of them are exhausted, psychologically devastated and very tired.
Only a small percentage of the 2,000 Americans incarcerated in Mexico will have a chance to go home.