Lizbeth Mateo, 29, Marco Saavedra, 23, and Lulu Martinez, 24, spent most of their lives illegally in the United States and in an effort to draw attention to immigration reform, the three made the risky move of voluntarily returning to Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
Mateo said she wanted to bring attention to the plight of immigrants who have already been deported, in addition to the 11 million in the United States who will be affected by immigration reform.
The three attempted to return to the United States Monday at the Nogales border crossing, but they were taken to a holding facility in Florence, Ariz.
They were joined in the protest in Mexico by six other immigrants who had also grown up illegally in the United States, but had either been deported or voluntarily returned to Mexico at some point.
Luis Leon is one of the immigrants who joined the group in Mexico.
"They are insane," he said of the three original protesters, "but my respect is with them. Nobody throws away 20 years of their lives for someone else."
The immigrants were denied humanitarian parole, and were next planning to seek asylum, the Times said.