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  1. Jun 2021
    1. Isabel: Yeah. I understand how you would really not want to ask anything from your dad, but it seems like you had to ask for help there. I skipped one part of the story and I just want to backtrack because I think it’s important. You were held by ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcemen] for detention for two months?Angelo: Yes.Isabel: Two months. Do you mind just touching on the conditions or like the treatment you experienced there?Angelo: As soon as I got into immigration…it was Houston. So I mean the immigration center, was, I can't say it was things falling down, things breaking apart, it was all right. What the thing that was scary, very scary was that before the first time that I went to court just talking to people, they will tell me that they'd been there three, four years fighting their case. And they had moms and dads that were United States, residents, citizens, and they were still there fighting their case. And I would ask them, "If you don't fight your case, what happens? And they said, "Well, you know, they deport you tomorrow." And I called my dad and I told him, "Look, dad, I don't want to be here three, four years. I don't want to be here. I'll sign my deportation."Angelo: And whenever I went to court, even though I had already told that to my dad, I still tried to fight for me being there, I talked to the judge and the judge told me, “You have a criminal charge in the United States and you're considered a threat, you're considered a criminal and you're considered a threat to the safety of our citizens.” Those are the exact words that he said, “You are a threat to our citizens.” And I told him, "Okay, well hold on. I have 20 years here, I have four kids here, my brothers are here and my whole family's here. You can't tell me this." And it was literally a one, two, three step process with him. There was no emotion with him. It was, "No, this is your option, sign, fight your case. But I guarantee you right now that you're not going to win your case."Angelo: So it was like, "Why are you giving me the option to fight my case if...[Sigh]" So I told him, "Okay, well let's sign." And literally the next day, that's when I got deported. And it was just me not wanting to be there, seeing everybody at immigration being there three or four years, and literally they had more chance of staying than I did. Favors were more on their side than they were ever on mine. So I said to myself, "If they can't do it, what makes you think that you're going to be able to stay?" And that was my main decision for me signing the voluntary deportation so I wouldn't be incarcerated anymore. I didn't want to be treated as a criminal anymore. I never felt like I was a criminal, and I got surrounded with criminals.Angelo: I got surrounded with people that -- I had to change my whole way of being. I had to exercise a lot, I had to change my way of being, I had to be so cold, so reserved just stay to myself because I didn't want anybody to mess with me. I wasn't meant for that. I was meant to be a father, I was meant to be a household person, I wasn't meant to be imprisoned, and it even got to me and I told myself, “No,” because there will be a lot of guards that would tell me, "You're a dirty Mexican." And there will be a lot of times where I would question myself, and I said, "Okay, well your bunkmate, he's here for murder, he's spending here his rest of his life, you're getting treated bad. Well, maybe you are a criminal, maybe you should just start being a criminal." And it was just so hard for me to stay focused on, "No, you got to get out of this, you're going to get out of this."Angelo: And at any given moment it would've been so easy for me to just explode or something bad to happen, and I just had to concentrate so much on just getting through that. Every single time that I got called something, it was just put your head down and, "Okay, no, you're right." And it was like that throughout the whole time of me being in prison and in immigration. It was just that, "You're a dirty Mexican." And there was nothing that you could ever say to them. If you said something to them, it was a five-year charge added to you. So it was just keep your mouth shut, do what they're telling you, and just keep your head down and stay out the way. And that's literally how I survived being in prison. I stuck to myself and I didn't mess what anybody.

      Leaving the US, Reasons for Exit, Deportation, Detention, Reasons, Framed, Court Proceedings, Judge, Imprisonment, Other inmates, Guards, Treatment