Politico reported on a deportation of a father in New York City back to his Mexican state of origin, Puebla, which is southeast and east of Mexico City. The authors wrote, “Numbers alone can’t capture what it’s like to spend years or decades building a life, finding work, starting a family—only to be torn away and made to return to the violent and impoverished place you fled.”
Jorge Vargas, now back in living with his mother in the town of Santa Lucia, says, “Since I was deported, I hardly leave my room. All of my old friends are now involved in gangs and drugs, so I stay home.”
Now 28, he lived in New York from age 15 to 27. Just when he was on the verge of qualifying for DACA, having passed the biometrics screening, and just after his wife had given birth to their son, he was arrested by ICE in April 2017 on his way to work and was deported within a month. The name of his newborn son, Joandri, whom he hasn’t seen in almost two years, is tattooed on his arm.
An estimated 1 million undocumented Poblanos live in the United States—one of the largest communities of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the country. Roughly half of those million Poblanos are in New York, where areas like Corona, Queens, have earned the nickname Puebla York. Puebla is the only Mexican state that has a New York office devoted to immigrants, and every year, the Puebla government sponsors reunions of Poblano families, who are allowed to visit their undocumented relatives in the United States on temporary visas for three weeks.
Those who leave Puebla escape the dire poverty of a state where most families earn an average of US $70 a month. More than 60 percent of Puebla’s 6 million people live below the poverty line; many Poblanos resign to labor under the control of cartels in order to stay above it. Meanwhile, an undocumented Mexican construction worker in New York can earn more in a day than he would make in a month in Puebla. Most Poblanos in the United States send much of their earnings back to family below the border.