“Deported. Long before I fully understood what that word meant, I’d learn to dread it,” she says. “With every ring of my family’s doorbell, with every police car passing on the street, a horrifying possibility hung in the air – my parents might one day be sent back to Colombia,” recalls the Jane the Virgin actress.
Her parents were deported when she 14, as was her brother.
The actress was left behind in the U.S., coming home one day to an empty house.
“Day after day, year after year, my mom and dad tried desperately to become American citizens and keep our family together and in the end, none of their efforts were enough to keep them here in the country we love,” she says.
Guerrero, 29, goes on to say that although sharing her story is “not easy” for her, she is opening up now to help others.
“My story is heartbreakingly common,” she says, adding that she hopes children will take comfort in knowing others have survived such a thing.
Guerrero also recalls meeting President Barack Obama, whom she quotes as telling her: ” ‘I want you to know that you are important. You matter.’ ”
“That brought more tears from me. Big time. I almost passed out,” the actress says.
Her parents have not been able to return to the U.S., even as visitors.
In the Country We Love is out on shelves and Audible May 3.