One week ago I left an “American” 18 year old in Mexico.
Gio was on a bus to the Palm Desert when border patrol picked him up in Indio, CA. His bus was boarded and the riders were asked to prove their citizenship. Gio was brought to the US when he was 5 years old, attended California schools and for all intents and purposes was an American by everything except his papers. Gio is one of the best kids we’ve ever had come through our programs at Mika. He attended our after school program, has been mentored for the last five years and volunteered diligently tutoring elementary students through his last few years of high school. He currently attends Orange Coast College and helps support his family as the man of the house.
Last Friday when border patrol boarded his bus as he was headed to visit a friend, he was asked to produce his papers and he was detained when he couldn’t prove his citizenship. After he was intimidated and coerced to sign a voluntary departure form he was deported to a country he didn’t know at 3 o’clock in the morning. He was alone and scared.
At 3pm on Friday afternoon, myself and 3 other people drove to Mexico to help get Gio from Mexicali to Tijuana to a safe home where he could stay until further arrangements could be made. What was intended to be a 10 hour trip turned into a 25 hour adventure that included wondering the streets of Tijuana at midnight and diligently pursuing a safe place for Gio to reside.
I wish I could say everything turned out alright and everything is ok. But what is ok in this situation? I left one of my favorite kids in Mexico while I got to drive back across the border and show his mother the pictures from our journey. Everything Gio knows about Mexico he learned from the movies. Everything he knows about life took place in Orange County, California. I want to believe that the government is interested in deporting criminals and those at danger to our society and yet my experience of walking with undocumented teenagers tells me otherwise.
When will we as the people of God say enough is enough. Worshiping on Sunday morning was difficult in light of the fact that I left a child of God in a country that he didn’t know as home, and yet as a believer I have to trust that my God is greater and has a plan beyond what I can see right now.
This was originally posted by Keturah Kennedy on May 26, 2011 her own blog, Before I'm 30… as 25 Hour Adventure to Mexico. Keturah loves her city of Costa Mesa. She has a passion for participating in God’s Kingdom work in her city and uses her gifts in organizational development as Mika Community Development’s Director of Operations.
We append the following disclaimer on all guest blogs: “Please note that the views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of everyone associated with Loving the Stranger or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated.”