Abraham’s journey began in Durango, Mexico. After traversing miles across the border and eventually spending years in Phoenix establishing a life and family there, Abraham arrived back in Mexico again, deported and alone.
When Abraham arrived in the U.S. seventeen years ago, he was 14 years old. Initially traveling alone, he joined a larger group of about thirty other migrants and, after repeated attempts, crossed into Arizona and settled in Phoenix. From there, Abraham’s biography becomes familiar—a story echoed in the histories of other migrants and even our own families: he found work, roots, and love, while building a life, becoming a parent, and settling into a community.
Working as a welder and living in a trailer park, Abraham met the woman he would marry, Bobbi Elizabeth Chalupa, when he developed a friendship with one of the kids in the park, Rayven. Bobbi was a single mom, and no doubt saw in Abraham qualities she appreciated in a partner and a father for her son. When they married, Abraham helped Bobbi raise Rayven, and became the only father figure the boy had ever had. Abraham joined his father-in-law’s pool maintenance business, eventually taking classes to earn his certification to change pool motors. As Abraham continued to work to improve his professional life, Rayven enlisted in the U.S. army. Bobbi and Abraham were proud of their son, and happy in their life together.
All that changed when Abraham was picked up by local police and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As an undocumented individual, he was detained for a month and a half, then deported to Nogales, Sonora last month. Like so many of those deported under today’s broad and far-reaching immigration directives, Abraham’s American life is really the only one he knows—he’d never seen his birth certificate or Mexican ID until he was deported. All he has acquired through work and effort remains in Phoenix, and his closest loved ones are north of the border as well. As Abraham says, “The U.S. is my country. I would fight for it.” Clearly, he instilled this passion in Rayven who was deployed to Italy while his dad was in detention. The two never got to say goodbye.
In Nogales, Abraham looks for work daily, and visits the comedor for conversation and connection. Yet it is a lonely life and one he never expected to be living. Like any of us, Abraham wants to be with those he loves, in a place he knows, with order and meaning and community restored. He wants to go home.