Self-Deportation: From Nevada to Mexico, A Son Follows a Deported Father

After his father was detained by ICE, Victor Hugo Manuel Alcantara self-deported from Las Vegas, Nevada, to San Francisco Cheje, Mexico, to keep his family together. Article by Natalie Van Hoozer with additional reporting by Guillermo Bautista.

Reynolds Sandbox
Mar 7, 2018 · 12 min read
Image for post
Image for post
“I always knew deep down that I was Mexican,” Alcantara says, “but just the fact that I was actually going to the motherland, as some people would say, was just weird.” Photo by Guillermo Bautista

A One-Way Ticket After High School Graduation

His Previous Life In Las Vegas

“I was waiting to see if a new law would come out that would help us fix things. We’d already been [in Las Vegas] 15 years, working, trying to have a good record, behave well. So I always had the hope that something good would happen for us Latinos,” Nieto says.

Image for post
Image for post
“When they gave me my driver’s license, I was happy because I could drive relaxed,” Nieto says. “If the police stopped me, I didn’t have to cower because I could show them the license. An ID is worth a lot in the United States, for everything — for the bank, to rent an apartment, it’s extremely valuable.” Photo by Guillermo Bautista

The Encounter With ICE

“He was trying to tell me that everything was going to be okay and I was trying to tell him that everything was going to be okay,” Alcantara says.

The Detention Center

“What happens is that when you’re inside, there are people who have already been there more time than you. These people who have been there longer abuse the newcomers,” Nieto says.

Following a series of truck rides and a plane trip, “… at ten at night they released us at the border,” Nieto says.

Image for post
Image for post
Alcantara’s favorite photo shows him with his parents, a small family of three. It reminds him that, no matter where they are, they will be happy as long as they are together. Photo courtesy of the Alcantara family

A New Life with New Jobs

“Even though I’ve been to all these places, I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, I’ve been to Tokyo, at the end of the day, I think it would be really nice to get a chance to visit a city that I call home, a city that I call my own,” he says, “I wouldn’t feel like a tourist, I still think of [Vegas] as my city. It’s the place where I grew up.”

Kept Out of the U.S.

Otros Dreams En Acción (Other Dreams In Action)

Image for post
Image for post
Maggie Loredo, a self-deportee, co-founded Otros Dreams en Accion, a nonprofit organization which helps deportees integrate into Mexican society. Photo by Guillermo Bautista
Image for post
Image for post
Los Otros Dreamers, a collection of stories about deportees. Maggie Loredo submitted her story to be included. Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Job Opportunities

Emotional Transition

Image for post
Image for post
Loredo poses with her momentos from high school in Georgia and the book Los Otros Dreamers. Photo by Guillermo Bautista

The Future

“If they get deported or they return with their families, ‘la lucha sigue’ (the fight continues),” Loredo says. “We can organize and we can totally support each other and eventually be strong enough to create changes in Mexico and the U.S.”

Reporting by Natalie Van Hoozer for Reynolds Media Lab

The Reynolds Sandbox

The Reynolds Sandbox showcases innovative and engaging…

Reynolds Sandbox

Written by

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.

The Reynolds Sandbox

The Reynolds Sandbox showcases innovative and engaging storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab.

Reynolds Sandbox

Written by

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.

The Reynolds Sandbox

The Reynolds Sandbox showcases innovative and engaging storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store