More undocumented from Mexico

Politico searched New York City and the Mexican state of Puebla find more people from that state come to the city as undocumented. I wrote a few days ago about Jorge Vargas, who lived in New York City for 12 years and was raising a family before being deported back to Puebla. Here are other stories.

Still in New York: Lazaro Cortes arrived in New York from Puebla when he was 18, and started working as dishwashers. “New York eats you up,” says Cortes, now 33, who takes the train every day from Queens to his job at a restaurant in Manhattan. “All restaurants in Manhattan pay Poblanos the minimum wage or less. I cook steaks in minutes that cost more than my entire day’s salary. We’re exploited, but we cannot complain because we’re undocumented,” he says, adding, “I don’t have a life. Everything is work. I stand in the kitchen all day, every day. I have no health insurance, no vacation. Like all of us, if I were deported, I’d return to Mexico sick and spent.”

Three daughters: Leonor Rodriguez, 54 lives in a small village in Puebla scattered with cinder-block homes built with remittances from the United States. Rodriguez’s three daughters were initially deported after trying to cross the border near Nuevo Laredo in early 2018. They stayed at a detention center in Texas before returning 15 days later to their parents in Chilchotla. “I was happy to have them back home, but they were determined to try again,” says Rodriguez.

Her daughters successfully re-crossed the border one month later. The three women now share a small apartment in New York with other family members. All of them work to send money back to Mexico, where their own children stayed behind with Leonor. “I don’t know how to read. We’re poor. My children send us $150 a month to help us survive.”

Back in Puebla: Maria Montenegro crossed the border with her husband in 1997. They settled in Brooklyn, where they had two daughters. “My husband would not allow me to work there,” she says, “so after three years I returned to Mexico with my daughters to have my own life. He stayed behind.” When her husband was deported in August 2017, Montenegro, now 42 and running a small catering business in San Félix Rijo, Puebla, says she had not seen him for nine years. “As far as I was concerned, we were separated. His only responsibility was to send money to take care of our daughters. Since he returned, he’s become an abusive man. I hardly know him anymore. He came back very violent, as if I was responsible for his deportation. The wives of deported husbands are the ones who suffer the most in Mexico. Nobody thinks about us.”


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