Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire

I’m headed to Chi-town, where I’ll give the Matthew Freeman Social Justice lecture at Roosevelt University at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 25. The annual lecture honors a late student who wanted to better the world. The free talk is downtown in the Loop, in the university library, 10th floor, in the main campus building at 430 S. Michigan Ave., between Van Buren and Congress. Buffet lunch included.

By Margaret Regan

A Top Pick in the 2015 Southwest Books of the Year Competition

Published by Beacon Press
From the author of the award-winning book The Death of Josseline

“Intimate and heartbreaking…For those who have been searching for an authentic look at people caught between borders, this is it.”
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

Margaret Regan has done it again. With beautiful, absorbing prose and meticulous research, she captures the intense and intimate stories of those detained, deported, and forcibly separated from their families by the most massive detention and deportation system we’ve ever had in the United States. A powerful and deeply moving book.”
—Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation

On a bright Phoenix morning, Elena Santiago opened her door to find her house surrounded by a platoon of federal immigration agents. Her children screamed as they watched their mother handcuffed and driven away. Within hours, she was deported to the rough border town of Nogales, Sonora, with nothing but the clothes on her back. Her two-year-old-daughter and fifteen-year-old son, both American citizens, were taken by the state of Arizona and consigned to foster care. Their mother’s only offense: living undocumented in the United States.

Immigrants like Elena who’ve lived in the US for years are being detained and deported at unprecedented rates. Thousands languish in detention centers—often torn from their families —for months or even years. Deportees are returned to violent Central American nations or unceremoniously dropped off in dangerous Mexican border towns. Despite the dangers of the desert crossing, many will slip across the border again, stopping at nothing to get home to their children.

Drawing on years of reporting in the Arizona-Mexico borderlands, journalist Margaret Regan tells their poignant stories. Inside the massive Eloy Detention Center, a for-profit private prison in Arizona, she meets detainee Yolanda Fontes, a mother separated from her three small children. In a Nogales soup kitchen, deportee Gustavo Sanchez, a young father who’d lived in Phoenix since the age of eight, agonizes about the risks of the journey back.

Regan demonstrates how increasingly draconian detention and deportation policies have broadened police powers, while enriching a private prison industry whose profits are derived from human suffering. She also documents the rise of resistance, profiling activists and young immigrant “Dreamers” who are fighting for the rights of the undocumented.

Compelling and heartbreaking, Detained and Deported offers a rare glimpse into the lives of people ensnared in America’s immigration dragnet.

Read the reviews here