Ellsworth family preparing for move to Mexico

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Gaby Lara and children Ulysses and Faith will be leaving soon for Mexico, to join their husband and father, Fernando, who was deported from the U.S. in April as an undocumented immigrant. A potluck dinner benefit is being planned for the family beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 30 at the Ellsworth Christian Reformed Church. 


ELLSWORTH – Matamoros, Mexico, is not a very nice place.

Although once known as a small tourist town on the Mexican / U.S. border across from Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros was recently labeled as "Ground Zero" in the Mexican drug cartel war, growing more and more violent as the city's population has ballooned in recent years with Mexican citizens waiting to cross the border to the U.S. to escape the drugs, crime and poverty.

People are now tense and wary in this city, a "hot spot" for the Mexican Mafia, with fearsome gun battles that periodically break out between drug gangs, some armed with grenade launchers, and ski-masked Mexican soldiers.

Life has not stopped in Matamoros, and residents still go to Mass, baby showers and birthday parties, but then they go straight home.

There's a big difference between Matamoros and little Ellsworth in northern Antrim County, where for the past few years Fernando and Gaby Lara have lived and raised their family.

But Gaby Lara is now in the process of packing up her children and her life to join her husband – who was deported from the U.S. at the end of April – in Matamoros in the next few weeks.

To do so, she will be giving up her good job at a nearby insurance office, the support of her family, friends and church, the home she and her husband bought a few years ago, and perhaps, their personal safety, as well as that of their 6-year-old son Ulysses and 2-year-old daughter Faith.

But, she said, "I want to keep our family together, and if my husband can no longer live in the U.S., we will leave our American dream behind to live happily together."

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