An Arizona mother who left Mexico and entered the United States illegally when she was 14-years-old has been deported after President Trump’s executive order on immigration and border security went into effect.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a 36-year-old mother of two American teenagers, was taken into custody on Wednesday during one of her regular check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] deportation officers removed Ms. Garcia to Mexico Thursday morning shortly before 10 a.m. MST through the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations [ERO] coordinated her repatriation closely with Mexican consular representatives,” ICE Spokesman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe told PEOPLE in a written statement.
He added: “ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with felony convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation’s immigration courts.”
On Dec. 16, 2008, Garcia de Rayos was caught using a fake Social Security number number during a raid at the Golfland Sunsplash amusement park in Mesa, Arizona, where she worked. Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies arrested her and several other employees on charges of suspicion of identity theft and using forged documents to obtain employment, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“We all knew something could be different this time with the new administration. She went in with the lawyer and didn’t come out. That was pretty much all there was,” Carlos Garcia, director of the immigrant advocacy group Puente Arizona, told the newspaper.
When Garcia de Rayos left the ICE building in a van, protesters were waiting, according to The New York Times.
Some chanted, “Liberation, not deportation,” and her daughter, Jacqueline, held a sign that read “Not one more deportation.” Another man, Manuel Saldana, tied himself to one of the van’s front wheels and said, “I’m going to stay here as long as it takes.”
On Thursday, the Phoenix Police Department confirmed on Twitter that seven protesters had been arrested.
“Some protesters at the ICE building have chosen criminal conduct instead of free speech,” the statement read.
Under the Obama administration, Garcia de Rayos was allowed to stay in the United States even after a judge issued a deportation order against her in 2013. His administration made it a priority to deport people who were deemed a threat to public or national safety, had ties to criminal gangs or had committed serious felony offenses or a series of misdemeanor crimes.
Now, under the Trump administration, the definition of “criminal alien” is broader than it was before. On Jan. 20, one of Trump’s executive orders focused on deporting undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of — or are believed to have committed — any criminal offense.
“We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants,” Garcia de Rayos’ lawyer, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, said Wednesday, according to The New York Times.
Her daughter, Jacqueline, stood by her side before her mother entered the ICE building with her lawyer.
“The only crime my mother committed was to go to work to give a better life for her children,” she said.