Guerrero says she was 14 when her parents were taken back to her native Columbia
Credit: Amanda Schwab/Startraks

As the country grapples with how to handle immigration, one actress says the national topic hits extremely close to home.

Diane Guerrero, who plays tough-talking Maritza Ramos on the Netflix hit Orange Is the New Black, wrote a Los Angeles Times op-ed over the weekend, describing how, upon returning home from her performing arts high school one day when she was 14, she found out her mom and dad had been deported back to their native Columbia.

“Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there,” Guerrero, 28, writes. “Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.”

The actress adds that her older brother was also deported, leaving his toddler daughter behind. “She still had her mother,” Guerrero writes, “but in a single-parent household, she faced a lot of challenges. She says her niece, who’s currently serving time in jail, is “living the reality that I act out on screen.”

Guerrero, who’s now a volunteer for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, is hoping to incite change in the system.

“It is so difficult for some people to get documents and to get their papers and become legal,” she recently told CNN. “My parents tried forever. What I’m asking for is to create a solution for families.”

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