Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos’ deportation back to Mexico from Mesa, Arizona made international headlines.
She was taken into the custody of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and then deported February 10 for being convicted of a felony in 2009 — falsifying a Social Security number. Previously, she was to check in with ICE once every year. But when she made her eighth check-in February 9, the government agency took her into custody and processed her to be deported. Her deportation was one of the first as a direct result of President Donald Trump’s crackdown on criminal illegal immigrants in the country.
Garcia left behind two U.S.-born children and her husband in Arizona. The incident spurred protests and outrage because of the family that had been split up.
Guadalupe’s kids, 14-year-old Jacqueline and 16-year-old Angel Rayos Garcia face Trump when he addresses Congress on February 27.
Here’s what you need to know about Jacqueline and Angel:
1. The Brother & Sister Are Guests of Arizona Congressmen
The Arizona Republic reported that Jackie and Angel are the guests of Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego and Raul Grijalva, both of Arizona.
Gallego released a statement about taking Jackie and Angel with him to the speech, saying that it’s important that the president sees firsthand those whose families his executive order tore apart.
Gallego assumed office of Arizona’s 7th district in 2015 after previously serving in the Arizona House of Representatives. His district includes downtown Phoenix and some of Glendale. Grijalva represents Arizona’s 3rd district and went into office in 2013. His district includes parts of Tuscon, Yuma and Nogales.
Grijalva told the Arizona Daily Star in an interview about welcoming the brother and sister to D.C. for the speech:
I am pleased to welcome Jaqueline Garcia de Rayos as my guest for the president’s joint session address next week. Two weeks ago, our nation was appalled to see the Trump administration target Jaqueline’s mom, Guadalupe — a wife, breadwinner, mother of two and long-time member of the Phoenix community -– with deportation while she met voluntarily with ICE officials.
2. Jackie Was Outspoken During Her Mom’s Deportation Process
Guadalupe came to the U.S. illegally when she was 14. Her two kids were born in the United States and are citizens.
Ever ince she saw her mom get arrested for her felony in 2009, Jackie has attended meetings and protests, Teen Vogue wrote. She and her family have leaned on the Puente Human Rights Movement, a grassroots migrant justice organization that is based in Phoenix.
The organization, along with Guadalupe’s family, held many rallies and protests aimed at keeping her in the U.S. On the night when she was taken into custody, Puente held another rally outside of the ICE headquarters, but it turned chaotic when demonstrators attempted to block vans carrying Guadalupe from leaving the facility.
3. The Family Was Reunited Temporarily in Mexico
Jackie and Angel were reunited briefly with their deported mother in Nogales, Mexico on February 10.
Guadalupe and her kids spoke to the media at a soup kitchen in Nogales that day. Guadalupe said that she has “no regrets” about coming to the U.S. in the first place or checking in with ICE — like she usually did — instead of fleeing for safety.
I came here (to the U.S.) for my kids, a better future (for them), to work for them, and I don’t regret it because I did it with love for them.
Upon greeting his mother, Angel told media how heartbroken he was that he had to see his mom head back to Mexico.
No teenager should ever have to go through this. It’s a nightmare having your mother taken away from you. The person who’s always there for you, gone. Seeing her get taken away in a bunch of vans like she was like a huge criminal. It’s just the worst thing.
Since then, the family has traveled back to Arizona and left their mother in Mexico.
4. Guadalupe Could Be Petitioned Back to the U.S.
Although she has been sent back to Mexico, there is still a slim chance that Guadalupe could return to the U.S. Her children could be eligible to petition for her to come back to the U.S. when they turn 21.
Under federal law, Guadalupe is barred from returning to the U.S.A. for at least a decade based on how long she’d been living in the nation illegally for, her attorney Ray Ybarra-Maldonado told The Arizona Republic.
However, Guadalupe’s felony conviction could make her permanently banned from the country. But the family has been holding out hope that she will return.
5. Guadalupe Never Become a Citizen Because ‘She Had No Real Path’
Guadalupe had lived in the U.S. for 14 years illegally, but never attempted to gain citizenship.
The reason why, according to Ybarra-Maldonado, is that she “had no real path” to doing so. That’s because, as he noted to The Arizona Republic, in order to apply for citizenship, an immigrant must first become a legal permanent resident.
In order to do that, a close family member or immediate family member must petition for you; all parties must be over 21. The only people who can petition for an immigrant to become a citizen is with the help of another U.S. citizen. An extra precedent is given to those immigrants with kids under 21, but because Guadalupe’s husband is also an undocumented immigrant, there aren’t any other immediate relatives to sponsor/petition for her. Plus, the wait can take many years because of a limit placed on the number of green cards that are allotted per category and country.
Guadalupe’s sister, a U.S. citizen, reportedly had petitioned for Guadalupe to gain citizenship, but that application was made over 10 years ago and hadn’t been approved before her deportation.
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