On the line: The Mexicans deported from the US to a homeland they barely know

REPORTERS © Alex Gohari and Léo Mattei

Every year, more than 100,000 Mexicans living in the United States are deported to Mexico. Many of them have grown up and spent decades in the US, working, paying taxes and starting families. Some of them don't even speak Spanish. In a matter of days, they find themselves taken from their children and loved ones and escorted across the border, unable to appeal their deportation. FRANCE 24 brings you a special full-length documentary on their plight.


The Mexican border town of Tijuana has become the place where those deported from the US end up, their American dream in tatters. For many of these Mexicans, the only work available is – ironically – in relocated American call centres. They spend their days answering calls from US consumers, pretending to be working from America, and their evenings looking at the lights from across the US border, where their families remain.

Rocio, Richard and Sergio are just three of those affected. We followed them for nearly a year as they struggled to make sense of their situation and rebuild their lives.

This documentary by Léo Mattei and Alex Gohari won the 2021 Albert Londres Prize, France's most prestigious journalism award.

Co-director Léo Mattei speaks to FRANCE 24 about the documentary
Léo Mattei speaking to FRANCE 24.
Léo Mattei speaking to FRANCE 24. © FRANCE 24

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning