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Stay Or Go: What Happens To American Children When Parents Are Deported

Spanish version (Versión en español): Una Realidad De Los Niños Cuyos Padres Enfrentan Deportación

Joe Riedl/Willamette Week

Brandon is in many ways a typical American 4-year-old.

His favorite food is chicken nuggets. He likes watching “Power Rangers,” singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” and saying his ABCs. He goes to preschool in Silverton, roughly an hour’s drive south of Portland.

For nearly a month, Brandon has been asking his mother, “Where is Daddy?”

For nearly a month, his mother has lied.

“He’s working,” she tells him.

Brandon, 4, keeps asking his mother, “Where is Daddy?” Brandon's father is awaiting a hearing that will likely order him to be deported to Mexico.

Brandon, 4, keeps asking his mother, “Where is Daddy?” Brandon’s father is awaiting a hearing that will likely order him to be deported to Mexico.

Joe Riedl/Willamette Week

Brandon is a U.S. citizen, but born to parents who crossed the border from Mexico illegally as teenagers.

Last month his father, Juan Carlos Andrade-Lopez, 26, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants in the wee hours of Jan. 22. After Andrade-Lopez spent a night in the Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City, he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

About This Project / Sobre Este Proyecto

This story is a collaboration between OPB’s Roxy De La Torre and Willamette Week’s Rachel Monahan. Read more at

Esta historia es una colaboración entre Roxy De La Torre de OPB y Rachel Monahan de Willamette Week. Lea más en

They took him to a detention facility in Tacoma, Wash., where he has been ever since, awaiting a hearing that will likely order him to be deported to Mexico, a country he hasn’t lived in for almost half his life.

The deportation will come with firm instructions not to return to the U.S. to see his son or the rest of his family — his partner, Araceli, or his other son, 1-year-old Oliver. (WW is not using her last name because she is undocumented.)

The remaining family now lives in an aging farmhouse in Central Oregon — a home filled with extended relatives, religious pictures and a growing sense of dread.

“Brandon started asking for his father after a week,” Araceli says. “He cries for him every day.”

Read more at Willamette Week.

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