About 7 people were arrested Wednesday night during a protest in Phoenix to stop the deportation of a woman who illegally entered the country 21 years ago, authorities said.
People gathered outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to protest the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, 35, who had been detained earlier in the day as a result of President Trump’s new executive orders on immigration.
Trump’s executive order last month expanded border securities to include undocumented immigrants who committed any criminal offense.
Rayos was convicted of a felony in 2009 for using a fake social security number to work at a water park in Mesa, Arizona. Her arrest was part of a series of raids by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to the New York Times.
As a result of her conviction, Rayos had been regularly checking into the ICE office, where there was usually a brief review of her case before she was dismissed. Except on Wednesday, immigration agents arrested her and began procedures to return her to Mexico, a country she has not been to since she left when she was 14 years old.
“Ms. Garcia De Rayos is currently being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) based on a removal order issued by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review which became final in May 2013,” ICE said in a statement. “Relevant databases indicate Ms. Garcia De Rayos has a prior felony conviction dating from March 2009 for criminal impersonation.”
Her family, including her two US-born children and husband, friends, and supporters gathered outside the office in the afternoon and continued into the evening, when people began lighting candles for a prayer vigil.
On Wednesday night, Rayos was seen detained inside a van that could take her to a detention center or back to Mexico, but protesters gathered to block it from departing. At least 7 people were arrested for blocking the vehicle, Phoenix Police said on Twitter.
“She’s always there for me,” said her 16-year-old son, Angel, to CBS Arizona. “No one should ever have to go through this.”
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