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An intimate look at the people ensnared by the US detention and deportation system, the largest in the world 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 the officers handcuffed her and drove her 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 United States 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 immigrants 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 andyoung immigrant “Dreamers” who are fighting for the rights of the undocumented.
Compelling and heart-wrenching, Detained and Deported offers a rare glimpse into the lives of people ensnared in America’s immigration dragnet.
About the Author
Margaret Regan is the author of the award-winning book The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands (Beacon Press), a 2010 Southwest Book of the Year and a Common Read for the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. An editor and writer at the Tucson Weekly, Regan has won many regional and national prizes for her immigration reporting, including the 2013 Al Filipov Peace and Justice Award. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Praise for Detained and Deported
“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
“Heartbreaking, thorough, and insightful. Regan’s work gives readers an important view into the challenges faced by undocumented immigrants.” —Library Journal
“A timely look at the inhumane effects of immigration policies in the United States… Regan's books bring into focus the fates of undocumented people fighting against the odds to make it into America and then, if they get here, struggling, and often failing, to build a life.” —Kirkus Reviews
“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: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security
“This important work should be read together with Regan’s previous exposé, The Death of Josseline (2010).” —Booklist
Praise for The Death of Josseline “This book should be required reading for everyone—from President Obama and the director of Homeland Security to the border patrol agents, the vigilantes, and migrant rights activists. If people on both sides of the immigration issue picked up this book instead of arms, we would come to a peaceful resolution; it gave me inspiration.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
“Most border ‘experts’ and immigration writers are mere tourists. This writer is not one of them. In Margaret Regan’s The Death of Josseline, you have a writer who lives the story, reports from the heart of the killzone, and works the territory on a regular basis. The many admirers of Enrique’s Journey will find much to admire, and fear, in this powerful report.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway
“There may be no better way to understand the muddle that is US immigration policy than by reading these portraits of people who cross the border in hopes of a better life.” —Ted Robbins, National Public Radio