This past weekend I visited Tijuana, Mexico to volunteer with Al Otro Lado. Al Otro Lado is a nonprofit organization created by attorney Nora Phillips three years ago as a way to connect deported individuals with legal, medical, and psychological resources.

Oftentimes, persons are deported after having resided in the US for years and even decades. Immigration Customs Enforcement drops them at the border, with no family, no friend, no contact, and no comprehension on how to reintegrate into their home country. For example, I was able to assist an elderly man in his sixties who had resided in the US since the 1970s but was most recently deported last year. He had driven from the Yucatan peninsula to attend the event to see if there was any way for him to return legally to the US.

The deportee clinic was highly organized with a team of lawyers and doctors on site assisting people in a small but comfortable two-story building. There was someone warming tortillas and providing coffee to what appeared to be everyone. The inclusiveness of the event was “pura” Nora Phillips who dedicates her life to assisting others. I anticipate attending the next event in August.