Caught Between Borders: An Interview With Mapache
Mapache has lived through a nightmare many people can’t even imagine. In late July, Mapache spoke with It’s Going Down on This Is America, reporting on an ongoing encampment protesting ICE deportations, forced child separations, an mass roundups. About a week after our interview, Mapache was picked up by ICE officials, as they knew his DACA was up. Upon being arrested, he was visited by the FBI, who gave him a choice of either informing on his comrades who were simply involved in protesting ICE, or staying locked inside a detention facility – he chose the later.
As The Intercept wrote:
After Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a longtime U.S. resident protesting against ICE in San Antonio, Texas, the FBI stepped in for an interrogation, telling the resident, 18-year-old Sergio Salazar, that his immigration status had been revoked because he was a “bad person.” The FBI agents asked him to inform on fellow protesters and said if he did so it could help his immigration case.
“It seems evident that he was targeted here because of his involvement in the anti-ICE protests,” said Jonathan Ryan, Salazar’s lawyer from RAICES Texas, an immigrant advocacy group. “We’re very concerned about how directed and targeted and aggressive and quick this was.”
Despite having no record, authorities used Mapache’s involvement in the protest as a pretext for his repression. After refusing to talk to the FBI, Mapache was then moved to another detention center run by a private corporation several hours away. Here, with hundreds of others, he remained for about a month. During our conversation, we talk about the conditions within the facility, the people within it and their stories, and the impact of the Abolish ICE movement.
Finally, after about 40 days, Mapache decided to opt to be deported to Mexico. While this means that he left the prison behind him, it also meant that for 10 years he is banned from returning to the United States, where he has lived almost his entire life.
In this emotional and heartfelt discussion, we talk about the arbitrary and violent nature of the deportation machine, the irony of a system that represses migrants yet depends on their labor, the struggles and humanity of those locked inside detention centers, and the brutality and psychosis of those that don badges to uphold the racial order.
This post was written by It's Going Down