Sentence: 27 Years
Offense: Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine
Priors: First Offense
Time Served: 22 Years
Left behind: 1 Daughter, 1 Son, 4 Grandchildren
“The girls here are very discouraged right now,” Rita Becerra said of the women of Carswell prison. “Right away they knew there was nothing for us when Trump got in office.” Becerra in particular will be even more impacted by the new president’s policies. Born in Mexico and brought to the U.S. by her family when she was 5, Becerra will be immediately transferred to an immigration detention facility to await deportation when she is released from prison in November 2017, despite the fact that she has been in the U.S. for over 50 years and no longer knows anyone in Mexico.
At 66 years old and having served more than 22 years behind bars, Rita has been a model prisoner and credits finding a hobby with keeping her emotions at bay. “Sometimes it’s ok. Sometimes I find something that interests me to help me go on,” she said. For the past few years, that has included spending most of her free time pouring over law books and trying to help her chances of freedom, as well as guiding other women through their legal wrangling.
But after the election of President Trump, Becerra has focused her efforts on learning as much about immigration law and policy before her release date. After paying more than her debt to society, she feels she is and should be considered an American, not sent back to a country she never knew. Becerra plans to prolong her detention in the immigration facility for as long as it takes to convince the powers that be to let her stay in America. “I want to stay here and speak out for the rest of them that aren’t getting out,” she said of her fellow inmates.