Maria's Story: Across the Border
DJC reporters' trip diary from Mexico
In May 2017, Detroit Public TV and its Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner Bridge Magazine reported the story of Maria Juarez, an undocumented young southwest Detroit mother, as it unfolded with '21 Days to Exile.' Read more here >
On May 26th, 2017, Maria was deported to Mexico, leaving her leukemia-stricken husband and 18-month-old son behind.
On Sunday, September 24th, Detroit Journalism Cooperative members Chastity Pratt Dawsey (Bridge Magazine) and Bill Kubota (Detroit Public TV's One Detroit) headed to Guanajuato, Mexico, to catch up with Maria and uncover the stories of other deportees. You can follow their trip day by day here:
September 28, 2017
Chastity gives us a quick glimpse of the earthquake's effects on the Mexico City hotel she and Bill are staying at:
Miguel Angel Vega is the crew's "fixer" in Mexico. He's a filmmaker and journalist who guides international journalists from places such as Viceland, Netflix, and the Washington Post through poppy fields, drug zones, covering El Chapo, the quakes, etc. He talks about danger in Mexico City. Video will stall and resume:
September 26, 2017
On September 26, the DJC caught up with Maria Juarez, 23, of Detroit. Maria had lived in America since her mother took her there without immigration documents when she was 8 months old. Maria was deported four months ago. With DACA at risk, her turbulent life in Mexico is an example of what some of the 800,000 DACA recipients, or "Dreamers," face. (Video will stall and resume):
Chastity and Bill drive with Maria to her home in Mexico before coming across a grisly scene:
The reporters saw first hand why Maria now lives in fear - They found cops guarding a dead body in a field near her home. The second murder today:
September 25, 2017
On September 25th, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative's Bill Kubota and Chastity Pratt Dawsey were in the city of León, where they met up with Daniel Arenas, co-founder of the organization Dream in Mexico. Arenas went back to Mexico after 14 years in America and now works to help Dreamers who were deported or who returned but need educational and employment opportunities. Chastity Pratt Dawsey gives us a preview of their conversation with Daniel:
In this video preview, Arenas gives the DJC's Pratt Dawsey and Kubota a tour of his Dream in Mexico office, a well-secured row-house he shares with a roommate:
Chastity gives an update from Guanajuato as they look for "Dreamers:"
Chastity and Bill got lost at dusk in Celaya, Mexico, but luckily a reporter they are working with helped them out:
September 24, 2017
On May 26th, 2017, Maria Juarez, a young Southwest Detroit woman, was deported to Mexico, leaving her leukemia-stricken husband and 18-month-old son behind. Maria was an undocumented immigrant who came into the country at just eight months old. But the past and new immigration policies finally caught up to her. Detroit Public TV and its Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner Bridge Magazine followed Maria's story as it unfolded with #21DaystoExile. Read more here >
For the next week, Detroit Journalism Cooperative members Chastity Pratt Dawsey (Bridge Magazine) and Bill Kubota (Detroit Public TV's One Detroit) will continue coverage of this story right from Guanajuato, Mexico, where Maria currently resides, and will keep up with other immigration stories that surface.
Pratt Dawsey and Kubota posted on FB Live from DTW airport, September 24: