The 1970s was a time of growing government repression, incarceration, and subsequent radical activism across the United States and Mexico. This is reflected in the migration, incarceration, and organizing efforts of José Jacques Medina, a Mexican activist who fled to the United States to escape political persecution after his involvement in the 1968 student movement in Mexico City. After the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) apprehended and incarcerated Medina inside an immigration detention facility in El Centro, California, activists, inspired by radical movements such as the Black Panther Party and the Third World Left more broadly, organized to gain Medina political asylum and avoid deportation. This story of radical transborder organizing highlights the connections between the carceral state and migration, prison movements and migrant rights. It also exposes the increasing power of the detention and deportation regime in the United States as the INS collaborated with federal agencies such as the FBI to repress political dissent and control migration.

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