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In case you missed them, here are some of the top stories from the week:
Bridging the Border: A Family Divided was supported by the Pulitzer Center.
Everything changed for Ramon Flores and his family when he was deported to Mexico two years ago, after Motel 6 shared his name with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
He had lived undocumented in the United States for about 20 years, raising seven children with his wife, Enedis, running a small Mexican goods business and paying taxes. He and his family rented a Hazel Dell townhouse. They led a middle-class life.
TIJUANA, Mexico — Ramon Flores mills around the crowded, tin-roofed cabinet shop located in Guerrero — one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Tijuana, and today home to the middle class. When he steps outside, he can see the United States, where he lived for 20 years, in the near distance.
Stray dogs roam the streets, picking through trash in the gutters, stirred up from recent heavy rains.
Ramon’s youngest son, Edward, 12, hovers nearby as he sets about his work. His children, U.S. citizens, often accompany him to work when they visit him in Mexico.
CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Soft sunlight peers through the still-closed blinds of the sparse two-bedroom apartment. Enedis Flores’ children are still sleeping, some on mats on the floor.
Enedis, 54, darts back and forth between the kitchen and her bedroom — her wet hair wrapped in a towel atop her head. She was up early to prepare food for a work potluck, but now she’s running late.
She works part time at the Employee Rights Center in San Diego, attends community college and navigates multiple welfare programs, all while raising six children on her own during the week.
The Value Motel in Hazel Dell has been boarded up and a sign on the front lobby reads that it is under construction.
That’s about all the information available, since the phone lines have been disconnected and no one is occupying the building, at 708 N.E. 78th St. However, a screen of rolling security cameras was still visible through the lobby window on Tuesday and appears to be recording.
For the past seven years, Candace Brown, a single mother and waitress at Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground, has sorted tips at the restaurant’s server’s station. But when she approached a table Dec. 19, a much larger than normal gratuity awaited her — $1,500 in cash.
“Obviously, I was in shock,” Brown said.
Shortly after answering the door to her house in October, Margaret Moses was equally as confused as her visitor, who had rent paperwork in hand.
“He said, ‘Oh, you’re not the guy I’ve been talking to,’ ” Moses said.
The man had seen a Craigslist post claiming that the house between Vancouver’s Lincoln and Northwest neighborhoods was for rent, said Moses, 77. He didn’t, however, submit any form of payment.