Local B-boy Deported to Mexico

Recently, the b-boy troupe “Hunab Kru” were surprised to learn that one of their newest members was arrested, and would later be deported to Mexico.  The circumstances are complex, and the impact of this loss has been felt by many.  On Saturday, August 7, the Hunab Kru attended a benefit for B-boy Aztec’s legal aid called “Rock or Flock” in Atlanta, Georgia. There were exhibitions, cyphers, and 1vs1 battles at the event. The battle that lies ahead will be difficult , but in the end, the Hunab Kru hopes to see Edwin Labra reunited with his family and friends, as a citizen of the United States of America.

Now 24, Edwin has been in the U.S. since he was 2 years old. When he was 17, Edwin made some poor choices. He was arrested and convicted of felony and petty larceny charges for stealing from a Flea Market. Edwin was sentenced to five years of probation. He was released from his sentence after four years for good behavior and paying restitution. However, Edwin was unaware that his guilty plea and conviction revoked the opportunity to become a citizen of the United States.

Edwin Labra and his brother Brayan were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at their home in Spartanburg, S..C, at 5:30 a.m. on May 19.  Brayan is 21 years old and has been in the U.S. since infancy. He has no criminal record, is a high school graduate, and is still incarcerated awaiting trial. Edwin chose to “return” to Mexico (a country he has never called home), and now resides with his grandparents, whom he is getting to know. Without question, the most difficult circumstance that Edwin faces is being separated from his fiance, Anna, and their four year old son Cruz.

Anna and Cruz attended the event joined by Edwin’s younger brother Elmer.

At the “Rock or Flock” benefit in Atlanta, cultural ideals were on display. The event was organized by two veteran b-boys of the south. Zapper, of the HBO Crew (Atlanta, GA), and Frantic, of Mixed Motions (Columbia, S.C.) welcomed b-girls and b-boys to a warehouse jam where dancers could network, socialize, and test their skills against one another. The crowd was diverse in many ways, but everyone there shared a common interest in showing support for a member of the b-boy/b-girl community. Money was raised to help pay for Edwin Labra’s legal fees through donations and a cover at the door. Clothing sponsors Frock of Seatle, WA and Supa Dope Fresh of Atlanta, GA donated a portion of their proceeds.

B-boy Frantic (left) and B-boy Zapper at Rock or Flock.

Dj Ethical spins positive vibes and funky breaks.

B-boy Frantic is a long time friend of Aztec’s (Aztec is also a member of the Mixed Motions crew in South Carolna). Frantic made it possible for Aztec to watch the battles, and for everyone at the event to see and speak with him via Skype. Through a virtual connection, a father reunited with his son and fiance. Edwin Labra was true to form with a smile on his face as he watched the event live at an internet cafe in Mexico.

Family and friends interact with Edwin (pictured on laptop screen) via Skype.

People danced non-stop from 4:30 pm till late at night. The most exciting battle was an exhibition between two young brothers. J Killa and Mud Pitt were scheduled for a 10 round one-on-one battle that lasted an amazing 18 rounds. Not only did these two have incredible stamina, they also boasted an array of original moves, musicality, and personality. J Killa was announced as the winner in the end, but he better watch out for his younger brother in the future. These two are both members of the HBO crew in ATL, and their crew is a force to be reckoned with.

Brothers B-boy Mud Pitt (left) and B-boy J Killa.

B-boy Mud Pitt’s hollowback freeze.

B-boy J Killa displaying footwork prowess.

Back in Asheville, the Hunab Kru carry on without their compadre, look toward the future, and take aim at being an influential part of their community. There is more to this story, and there will be updates as more information is available. Frantic will host two more benefits in the coming months, and the Hunab Kru will also host an event in Asheville (TBA), that will aid Edwin and his family. If you would like to show your support, become a fan of Hunab Kru on Facebook. In the words of a b-boy anthem, by Jimmy Castor Bunch, “Its just begun.”

Text by Joseph H. Adams Photos by Jonathan Welch

Just Begun
By: Jimmy Castor Bunch 1972

Watch me now
Feel the groove
Into something
Gonna make you move

Here we come
On the run
Don’t know what we’re running from

Day or night
Black or white
Dance or sing
You gotta do your thing

Peace will come
This world will rest
Once we have togetherness

Day or night
We had fun
But it’s just begun
It’s just begun
It’s just begun

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19 thoughts on “Local B-boy Deported to Mexico

  1. MY heart goes out to him. Our immigration laws are terrible. That the laws of other countries might also be terrible does not negate our own faults. Justice is America should not be based on the lowest common denominator.

  2. Piffy!

    What made ICE even come to their home in the first place? Anonymous tip?

    and 530am? Geez, guys.

    Thanks for reporting this. I hope you can dig deeper and give us some more details soon.

    What crap. So they are breaking up a family because of some technicality.

  3. I believe that there was an anonymous tip, but it is important to note that the arresting officers were simply doing their job. Also, Edwin would agree that his felony and petty larceny charges are far from a mere technicality. He knew that he had done wrong and did his best to rectify his mistakes. This s a very complicated issue. Your concern is greatly appreciated. I hope that more people will ask questions, because with questions come answers.

  4. boatrocker

    Ok, so after reading the entire article,I would pose the following questions (as usual never to be specifially answered here unless something amazing happens but it’s still worth a try):

    1) Is he legally able to live in the U.S as a legal citizen?

    2) Do his prior charges make him in any way eligile for deportation? If so, how?

    3) Can posters here separate the letter of the law from the spirit of the law from the fact that he can dance well?

    4) Any chance of a well thought out rebuttal to above questions or is it just rap envy? I’d be happy to read “the rest of the story” minus sycophant whitey posters just trying to be included in a “scene” that raps well.

    Don’t worry, I like rap music, but shrug off wanna be’s who merely stick up for their friends. Give me and other readers the real story. Please, I get tired of having to separate fact from fiction.

  5. Roger

    Is edwin’s brother being deported also and without a criminal record?

    The grey areas in immigration are enormous. Truth is we have had selective enforcement for years…choosing to sport those who committ crimes and less so those without papers that do not. The current political force is beehind deporting all…thatbos what arizona’s law is really about.

    We need many many more stories like this one…and not just of artists and musicians. We need to unpeal the immigration onion to view all it’s layers before jumping on the deport em all train.

  6. boatrocker

    Still trying to figure out some particulars to this story as there seems to be more than meets the eye.

    By referring to the story as “complex”, I’m assuming that maybe a follow up story is in the works?

    Is it just me, or does there seem to be a tad bit of bias to the story? By referring to the felony charges as a “poor life choice” as well as soliciting for memberships for a fanclub type site, are readers being asked to draw a conclusion before the facts are all in?

    If it’s a case of the ICE targeting the dance crew members to “set an example”, shame on them.
    If it’s a case of illegal aliens being lawfully deported, then why the write up of the subsequent dance off benefit? Color me confused.

  7. Asheville Dweller

    Why ask questions. was he was here illegally? Yes or no, Yes he was here illegally, I don’t see the issue, he knew he was illegal, if he loved this place so much why not go through the process to become legal? Thats the real question.

    Its more then a Technicality its the LAW he broke the LAW, sad yes but he could prevent it all of these folks can prevent this from happening, you FOLLOW THE LAW.

  8. Celeste

    This is an unbelievable outrageous injustice. I am 200% appalled and disgusted that our government would force young adults to leave the only home they’ve ever known and leave little children fatherless. Absolutely horribly dispicable.

  9. Yes, this article is biased. I wrote it, I am a b-boy, and Edwin is a friend of mine. I am not a staff member of the Mountain Express. I submitted the article, and I appreciate the opportunity to share this story. I wrote it for Aztec in the hopes that good will come from it … and it has. B-boys and DJ’s in Charlotte have already agreed to host an additional benefit. Aztec will need all of the support he can get.

    Aztec’s story is unique, but it is not uncommon. Please visit this site: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/08/05/us-protect-families-deportation-cases

    There are people who need him. There are people who trust and support him. Perhaps a judge could decide wether or not he can be a contributing member of our society, and be awarded the privileges of being a United States Citizen. As our immigration laws currently stand, he does not have the right to trial.

    B-boys and B-girls support one another. Many of us have known strife all too well throughout our lives. Still, we carry on with a positive outlook on what the future will bring. We battle each other, but we stand together. We don’t just dance, we express ourselves. That makes even this very difficult situation a good story. I like that, and we will do our best to get him home.

    I am very curious about the facts around his legal status. I will certainly follow up. Like I said, it is complex. I don’t want to make any assumptions, so I will only share what I know to be true. I feel very strongly that Aztec has a good case, but it will take time to prove it. The first challenge is gaining the opportunity to do so.

    I probably won’t post on here for a while, thus the shameless plug for the Hunab Kru fan page. I do appreciate all of the opinions and comments. By writing this article, I have made a commitment to become more educated, to follow through with more information in the future, and to help my friend.

    The discussion about wether or not he should have a right to a trial is not about immigration laws, it is about basic human rights.

  10. Media Watcher

    I was puzzled about this article. Was it a news story? It didn’t seem to follow any of the usual standards of journalism. Then a comment makes clear it was written by a person involved with the subjects of the story. Why didn’t MountainX label this clearly as an opinion piece and give readers some kind of explanation of why it was appearing? How does MountainX decide when to offer its pages(webpages, presumably) to writers of advocacy articles? Will it identify them as such?

  11. JWTJr

    If you enter a country illegally … any country … you cannot complain when you get arrested or deported. That’s the bottom line. They knew the risk when they crossed the border.

  12. Lowero

    Anybody being forbidden to live in a land of their choosing is sad. And borders and ‘legal laws’ are subjects of human imagination. If I get together with my community, who are the true natives of the land you people call ‘USA’, and decided to make laws and a constitution to kick all of you out, you guys will not see things as easily as your see the fate of the young BBoy above.

    Fortress America!

  13. Anna

    I appreciate everyone’s comments whether they are good or bad, but to answer some of your questions yes he was here illegally, BUT he was here because of his mother and has been in the U.S. since he was TWO years old. He had no knowledge of him being here “illegally.” Yes, he was in the process of becoming a citizen before he got deported. I personally believe that NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL.

  14. youdontneedtoknow

    To all you haters on here you dont even know half the story. I know this because I know guy and he is one of my friends. NO he didnt know he was illegal when he entered because he was only a baby he grew up here his whole life. yes he committed a bad thing but again he was only a kid, wasnt even 18 when it happened and had no idea he was deportable for that. ALSO on another note he was in the process of being legalized but like I said you fools dont even know half the story the people who were helping him being legalized turned out to be a phony and not only robbed him of money and time but a lot of others peoples as well..causing him to start all over again and money. Thats all Im going to say for now but this is a very good guy and known him for years my hopes goes out this guy and hope to see him again soon one day.

  15. bluebaker

    First off i want to say that things like this are said and i do feel for the fam. With that said the laws are the laws and there shouldnt be any way around it. Even though i feel for the family i do not think that what ICE did was wrong in any way. Reason being if i was driving and ran a red light i would get the ticket by a cop or the camra on the light. If i have to go by the law then so does anyone that lives here. And i dont believe he didnt know i can see maybe when he was young and such but when you get older you start to use numbers and other things. And if u say he was trying to get his papers done then when did he find out he was illegal. Just simple thoughts i would think.

  16. Piffy!

    []They knew the risk when they crossed the border[/b]

    Well, since he was an infant, actually [i]he[/i] didn’t.

  17. lookatmeimsoshiny

    I love how he’s convicted of a felony and his friend who writes the article says “he just made some poor choices”. Sheer poetry. Kinda like the Bush-ism of “youthful indiscretion”- i.e, “my felony was just “a poor choice”, see- so I shouldn’t suffer the full consequences of my actions, but for YOUR “poor choice” we’re going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law!

  18. lookatmeimsoshiny

    The picture of Bboy Zapper is an absolute knee-slapper! How old is he, like 45-50? I’m sure his wife is like “honey, take the silly hat off-you look about as B-boy as Tickle Me Elmo-stop rolling around in circles on the floor & come home to me and the kids. btw, your boss called and he needs you to come into The Sizzler early tonight, ok?”

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