“They say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen him, I’ve seen him, I’ll come back.’ And they never come back,” says Maria Carbajal, 49, in Spanish. It’s a Wednesday in June, one of several times I am with Carbajal on her search. “Look, here are some alleys. There are two guys there lying down. Let’s go look.”....In the news, Guzman’s case sounded like a real-life version of the 1987 Cheech Marin movie Born in East L.A., in which Marin’s character is accidentally deported and spends most of the film comically searching for a return home from Tijuana. But it wasn’t the first time such a real and not-so-funny case had made the papers. In September 1977, a U.S. citizen named Daniel Cardona was wrongfully deported from Clovis, near Fresno. The L.A. Times reported in 1981: “The mentally-disturbed young man, who is unable to care for himself, wandered the streets of Tijuana for almost five months before his frantic family found him. He had to be hospitalized for two weeks before he was allowed back into the country.”
Hernadez's story points out the anguish the deportation is causing for Guzman's family, and also the persisting mystery of how this happened; it's a fascinating read. Hernandez writes that even the ACLU attorney given access to overseeing the Memorandum of Understanding allowing ICE to deport from the LA jails does not know the process for how this happens and, in the excerpt above, points out that a wrongful deportation occurred at least once, in 1977. Perhaps if more were known of the interview and statement signing process ICE oversees then Guzman's particular case would be less confusing. Image from "Born in East L.A." movie poster.