March 2, 2017
An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. Over the past month, the Trump Administration has unveiled plans to arrest and deport large numbers of them. Under Obama, close to 3 million immigrants were deported. Trump is trying to do it faster. And with fewer restrictions.
Undocumented immigrants have long been an easy political target, especially those who’ve committed crimes. But, like everything, the individual stories are always more complicated.
In 1999, we met Jose William Huezo Soriano – everybody called him Weasel. Weasel was born in El Salvador and grew up in Los Angeles. He had a pretty typical American childhood. But as a teenager he joined a gang, and started getting in trouble with the police.
Then Weasel got deported back to El Salvador.
He was 26 years old, and he hadn’t been there since he was 5. He had no memories of the country. No close family there. And he’d forgotten most of his Spanish. Soon after he got deported, we gave Weasel a tape recorder to document his first year back in El Salvador.