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Documenting Jay: 17-Year-Old Deported

Reporting on illegal immigration isn't easy. People aren't always eager to talk and the paper trail is often thin. This is one of those stories. When we met Jay, he'd recently been deported to Tijuana for the second time. He was a few months from turning 18.

Jay grew up in Fontana, California. His mother brought him from Mexico to the United States illegally when he was 2. His mother and sister are now legal U.S. residents. Jay was working on getting his papers, but he got in trouble with the law and that derailed the process.

Both times Jay was deported, he'd committed crimes in Fontana and that tipped off immigration authorities. "Jay" is an alias and we weren't allowed to show his face because he is a minor. This video documents the challenges we faced in reporting Jay's story.


View more photos of Jay and the youth shelter in Tijuana.

joanne faryon, kpbs reporter
November 16, 2007 at 02:00 AM
I'm glad you told this story. I think we as media make the immigration debate too much of a political debate. It's really a story about peoples' lives. And you told this in a matter of a fact way, letting your viewer or listener decide what he thinks of the system. -----

Angela Ryan
November 21, 2007 at 05:43 PM
When Jay broke the law, he abused the privilege of living here in the U.S. He brought it upon himself, and he, like many of us, apparently could only learn that lesson the hard way. Newton's observations in physics applies as well to human interaction "Every action has a reaction, equal in force and opposite in direction." Responsibility for one's actions always comes down to the individual. I am a teacher, and one of the hardest things about teaching is watching the young people try to evade personal responsibility, casting blame all about the, while unwilling to accept that they can choose their own better outcomes. Unless they experience the often heartbreaking consequences of ill considered actions, and accept their part in them, they will continue to flounder, and never become useful citizens. I hope Jay will discover that everyday he awakens presents the opportunity to build a new life for himself. I hope he use these days to build a new, and better, life for himself, wherever on the planet he resides.

aurelio calderon
November 24, 2007 at 07:19 PM
my coment is simple if we are emigrants dosn't matter how many years you are here you have to be model citizen to stay here and honor this country. if you do bad things soon or later is going to happen deported well done!!. tired of young kids doing what ever they want don have punishment pd): rotten apples you have to put it innthe trash but good apples you have too keep it,


Bob Mullay
December 06, 2007 at 03:13 PM
For all of those do-gooders and sympathetic towards illegals, come live next door to me. Then and only then will you have a say on this matter. Should you decide to do just that, bring a fire arm for protection while in your home. Outside my home I carry a cell phone and pepper spray just to go to my car and while at the grocery store. You see people, I'm qualified to speak to this. Everybody else should butt out and not speak for us.

December 14, 2007 at 03:32 AM
Bob.. you seem angry.. If I lived next door to you, I'd carry a cell phone and pepper spray because I feared you.. sounds like you're making great strides at solving the problem.

Bob Mullay
December 23, 2007 at 04:59 AM
Boy, I entered my full name. Anytime boy, anywhere. Around here we don't kid and we don't hide.