Borderlands Reporting

Mapache: ‘Stand Up For a World Where No One Is Illegal’

mapache flyer
Notice seeking assistance for Mapache and his family.

After arrest and deportation, Mapache urges people not to let fear of ICE keep them from activism.

Marisol Cortez

Earlier this summer, we posted an interview with 18-year-old Dreamer Sergio “Mapache” Salazar about the purpose and vision of Camp Cicada, the Abolish ICE encampment that sprung up in San Antonio in July.

Though the movement to abolish ICE continues, occupiers decided to disband Camp Cicada in early September after seven weeks outside 3523 Crosspoint, an unmarked ICE administrative facility on the city’s Northeast side. Summing up their accomplishments over those seven weeks, organizers wrote on announcement of the camp’s closure:

For weeks, we hosted noise demonstrations, put a spotlight on the crimes of ICE in San Antonio, and connected with the local community. We offered aid & resources to the people coming in and out of the facility. We weathered 2 storms, a Nazi attack, ICE kidnapping Mapache & deporting Andres, police intimidation, heat advisories, and more.

We demonstrated that direct action against ICE is possible and effective in this city—forcing this facility to change its hours of operations, stop using buses to transport folks to detention or deportation, waste money on DHS security, and forcing employees to confront their complicity.

As referenced above, one of the tragic setbacks for Camp Cicada was ICE’s seizure of Mapache in early August of 2018 as he was leaving the encampment (for more on Andres’s case, see here).

As reported by Cora Currier in The Intercept, Mapache was given the option of informing on fellow ICE protesters in exchange for help renewing his DACA status; when he refused, ICE held him in detention for over a month. While initially fighting for the option of voluntary departure, he eventually elected to be deported after it became clear that the courts would fight even this possibility.

On September 19, It’s Going Down published an interview with Mapache conducted after his arrival in Monterrey, which provides important insights not only into the inner workings of the detention and deportation machine under Trump, but also into the administration’s treatment of those who stand up for the human rights of those criminalized and dehumanized for crossing borders. Click image below to read this article and to listen to the interview:

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Perhaps most striking in this interview is the fact that, despite everything he has gone through, Mapache remains steadfast in his conviction that standing up is still the right thing to do, saying:

If anybody is involved in protests, and if you are undocumented—don’t let what happened scare you. That’s why it happened to me, cuz they wanted people to be scared. ICE wants people to be afraid. So if you want to go out there and if you want to stand up for something, don’t let what happened to me stop you.

Be careful—be careful. As careful as you wanna be. But don’t let it stop you. Stand up for something. Stand up for a world where you are not illegal. Stand up for a world where no one is illegal. Stand up for a world where this never has to happen to anybody else–anybody else’s family.”

Finally, if you are able to help, consider contributing to a GoFundMe established to help Mapache and his family in the wake of his deportation.