21 Days to Exile – Tracking one Detroit woman’s deportation

Last Updated by Will Glover on

21 Days to Exile – Tracking one Detroit woman’s deportation

Bill Kubota, Detroit Public Television’s One Detroit


  Sunday in Detroit, June, 2017. 

  A crew of officers from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) execute arrest and deportation proceedings of more than one hundred immigrants, this time mostly Chaldeans, Christians from Iraq.

  Metropolitan Detroit is home to more Chaldeans than anywhere else in the US. 

  Now they join the Arab and Latino communities now targeted by the Trump Administration, which has ordered ICE arrest and deport more immigrants whose resident status is questionable and have criminal records. 

  Deportations are up nearly 40 percent since Trump took office, according to ICE.


  One of the deported is Maria Garcia Juarez, age 23, of Southwest Detroit.


  Juarez came to California from Mexico at eight months old, undocumented. Now she’s married to a Detroiter, a US citizen, and mother of a toddler, also a US citizen. She has sisters and a brother who are US citizens. But it’s her criminal record as a minor that attracted the attention of ICE, long before Trump was elected.


  Juarez grew up in a Salinas, California neighborhood where gangs and crime are a way of life.   

  She was caught stealing a couple of cars and leading police on a high speed chase, were serious, she was a juvenile and served time for her crimes. Since then she’s been able to escape that environment and make a new, upstanding life for herself in Michigan. 


  With the deportation looming, Juarez says she has not seen her or talked to her parents for years and knows nothing about Mexico, where she’ll be sent. She was a baby the last time she was there.


Behind the story:

  Detroit Journalism Cooperative Regional Editor Scott McCartney learned of Juarez’s story a day after she heard she’d was to be deported in three weeks.

   McCartney and his team would use that time to find out how deportation works and the legal options deportees face.

  Detroit Public Television will continue to cover the story in a collaboration with Chastity Pratt Dawsey who has been filing reports for Bridge Magazine and Detroit Public Television’s MiWeek program hosted by Christy McDonald.


Scott McCartney with Maria.jpgMaria Garcia Juarez shows her legal documents to Detroit Journalism CooperativeBill Kubota


Maria mug shot.jpgA photocopy of Maria Garcia Juarez’s legal papers, taken in 2011Bill Kubota


Maria out front.jpgMaria Garcia Juarez at her home in Southwest Detroit, May 2017 Bill Kubota


Maria in Mexico.jpgJuarez sent this picture to her husband from Mexico, June 2017Bill Kubota




  More on-line segments can be seen on DPTV’s One Detroit website, produced by Scott McCartney, Bill Kubota, Will Glover and Zosette Guir, and edited by Jordan Wingrove. Executive producer is Ed Moore.




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