Advocate For Tijuana Deportees Dies At 67

Credit: José Pedro Martinez, used with permission Above: Micaela Saucedo fought to improve the lives of deported migrants living in Tijuana.

Credit: José Pedro Martinez, used with permission
Above: Micaela Saucedo fought to improve the lives of deported migrants living in Tijuana.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
By Adrian Florido

Men and women who land in Tijuana after being deported from the U.S. lost a great friend this week.

Micaela Saucedo was one of the city’s most vocal advocates for that city’s vulnerable deportee population. She died Sept. 1 after a battle with cancer.

Saucedo was a founder and executive director of the Casa Refugio Elvira, which began in 2007 as a shelter for women and children who found themselves stranded in Tijuana after being deported from the U.S.

More recently, she moved her old 10-bed shelter into a larger building and began housing men, who make up most of the deportee population on the streets of Tijuana.

The idea for the shelter was sparked when a Mexican immigrant named Elvira Arellano left the Chicago church where for a year, she’d been seeking safe harbor from deportation. She traveled to Los Angeles, but was arrested there and deported to Tijuana.

It was Saucedo, a retired nurse and activist, who greeted Arellano at the border. The shelter ultimately bore Arellano’s first name.

As the shelter’s director, Saucedo tried to differentiate Casa Refugio Elvira from others. She placed no limit on how long people could stay, realizing it often takes much longer than a week or two for a recent deportee to figure out what to do next.

“She saw a wrong, and she tried to fix it right away,” said Enrique Morones, a border activist who worked with Saucedo and La Hermandad Mexicana, a pro-migrant nonprofit, to establish the shelter.
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A virtual way to be with their deported friend

BY CHRIS O’BRIEN for the Los Angeles Times
Sept. 2, 2013

Kyle Kuwahara, left, and Jude Kratzer use the video game Minecraft to stay in touch with classmate Rodrigo Guzman, 10, who was deported along with his family to Mexico. (Craig Kuwahara)

Kyle Kuwahara, left, and Jude Kratzer use the video game Minecraft to stay in touch with classmate Rodrigo Guzman, 10, who was deported along with his family to Mexico. (Craig Kuwahara)

To save their classmate who was deported to Mexico, the fourth-graders devised an epic plan.

That Rodrigo Guzman, 10, could no longer be with his friends and attend Jefferson Elementary seemed so obviously unfair to these students. So they started an online petition that got 2,788 signatures. They created a Facebook page and posted videos to YouTube.

They petitioned the Berkeley City Council and school district, which passed resolutions supporting their cause. They met with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) to ask whether she could intervene.

“We have to fight for Rodrigo’s rights because he is not able to do it himself!” Kyle Kuwahara said in a letter to President Obama. “Today I’m writing to you on Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday to do the right thing. To allow Rodrigo and his family to return to their home, school and friends in Berkeley.”

Even as the children’s “Bring Rodrigo Home” campaign built momentum, it became clear that things would not move fast. The immigration system is complicated, the students were told. There were too many agencies and politicians with rules that didn’t seem to share their urgency.
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Watch: Ghosts of the Canyon: Deportee Mystery Comes to Light After 65 Years

for video see


Woody Guthrie must have known that immigrants were more than just labels like “illegal” or “deportee.” In 1948, news of a plane crash at Los Gatos Canyon, in California’s central San Joaquin Valley, made headlines across the country, but while the four American crew members were identified by name, the 28 Mexican farmworkers who died in the crash were lumped together and referred to only as “deportees.”

Upon reading the New York Times’ account, Guthrie wrote his poem “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos” to protest the media’s failure to accurately report on and identify the farmworkers killed. “Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?” Guthrie wrote. “The radio says, ‘They are just deportees.'”

Tim Z. Hernandez, a California poet and author, was offended too. In late 2010, while researching archives for his novel “Mañana Means Heaven,” he came across the headline “100 Prisoners See An Airplane Fall From the Sky.” It was a story about the crash, and it changed the course of his career. He grew up in the farming communities of the San Joaquin Valley, and he connected with Guthrie’s poem because it echoed his own feelings of injustice for the 28 Mexican men and women who were left unnamed.
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Young Immigrants Fight for a Place, and for Access to Health Care

“Thousands of young people throughout California can only dream about health care. They want to live healthy responsible lives. But that’s hard to do when you can’t see a doctor or you don’t have health insurance.

Check out this 60 second video, “Dreaming of Healthcare.” We made it in partnerships with a group of young Californians. They’re all undocumented. Technically that means they’re not US citizens. But we think they couldn’t be more Californian.

California should not be a place that says some young people deserve health care and some don’t. Access to screenings and checkups helps people prevent problems before they start. When health care includes everyone, and we mean everyone, that keeps us all healthy. We’re in this together.

Check out #Health4all and help us spread the word that California’s health depends on everyone. Everyone. Learn more about us at”
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Across the Border, sung by Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris

Across The Border. Performed by Linda Ronstadt – lead vocal, Emmylou Harris – harmony, from the Western Wall, Tucson Sessions album. With Neil Young – harmonica, Bernie Leadon – guitar/mandocello/vocal, Greg Leisz – steel guitar/bass/vocals, Andy Fairweather Low – guitar/vocals, Wix – accordion, Ethan Johns – drums. Song composed by Bruce Springsteen.

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2 reviews of Transit by Anna Seghers


European Refugee Lit: Anna Seghers’s “Transit” Reviewed
By Joe Winkler On May 2, 2013

by Anna Seghers; translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo
NYRB Classics; 280 p.

Anna Seghers, one the most respected and important German authors of the 20th century, wrote perhaps the earliest account of the Nazi concentration camps. That book, The Seventh Cross, tells a similar story to her own time in a camp. Now, NYRB Classics has released a sequel of sorts. Transit tells the story of a lesser-known component of the Second World War, the displacement of millions of refugees. While it pales in comparison to the genocide, the displacement of millions of refugees signified its own traumatic experience which ended up changing the map of postwar Europe. Seghers’s unnamed narrator escapes first from a concentration camp in Germany and then from one in Rouen, France. He finds his way to Marseilles, a port city, which in this era of refugees desperate to leave transforms into a bustling town of the lost. The narrator feels a sort of modernist ennui until he finds himself a hustler in the shady business of visas and departures. There, he begins to create a glimpse of a solid life while remaining on the precarious ground of a displaced person. He loves, he attaches himself to a family and friends, all with an awareness of the inherent transience of his situation and consequently life in general.

The book begins with talk of a downed ship of refugees, and then the narrator proclaims his manifesto:
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