Guadalupe García de Rayos, known as Lupita to friends and family, would check in yearly with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Phoenix, Arizona, with no problem. This held true for four years—until yesterday (February 8) when her annual check-in resulted in her deportation.
García de Rayos is now in Nogales, Mexico, advocates working with her family told CNN. She leaves behind a husband and two children who are U.S. citizens.
Activists and allies organized by local immigrant rights group Puente Arizona quickly came to García de Rayos’ aid when news got out of her detainment. Authorities arrested seven people who were attempting to block vans, one of which was holding the Mexican mother.
García de Rayos’s undocumented status and criminal record—a result of a fake social security card she used for work and which was discovered in a 2008 workplace raid—weren’t enough in years past for authorities to deport her. Advocates are saying that yesterday’s move signals new times under President Donald Trump’s administration. “ICE had done what President Trump wanted, which is deport and separate our families,” said Carlos Garcia, director of Puente Arizona, to CNN.
Indeed, Trump’s January 25 executive order on immigration goes further on former President Barack Obama’s already stringent immigration policies which resulted in the deportation of nearly 2.5 million undocumented immigrants. Along with Trump’s impending wall across the U.S.-Mexican border, there is also his broad definition of what defines undocumented immigrants count as “criminals.”
Per the executive order, these individuals:
(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense; (b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; (c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense; (d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency; (e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; (f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or (g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
When the local ABC affiliate asked García de Rayos’ daughter, Jaqueline Rayos García, what she’d say to Trump if she could, the teen responded, “I’d ask him, ‘Why he would want to take her from me?’ She hasn’t done anything wrong and I’m not scared of him.”
In a press conference today, the 14-year-old said, according to Fusion:
“I honestly don’t have any words … I think it’s unfair that they just took her away just because she was working in order to support us … No one should go through their mother’s clothes and think, ‘Oh, is she going to need this or that. No one, no one, should go to through the pain of packing [their mother’s] suitcase. It’s just sad to see what this world has come to, especially with the new president we have now.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not answer questions regarding these events and, instead, referred press to ICE, reported Newsweek. “Ms. [García de Rayos’] immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system, including the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the judges held she did not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S,” an ICE spokesperson wrote in a statement to Fusion.
Follow the hashtag #GuadalupeGarcia to stay updated on what comes next for this family.