Donald Trump's America deports mother of two who has lived in US for more than 20 years

Lawyers say Donald Trump's internal enforcement order defines the majority of unauthorised migrants as 'criminal aliens' and gives federal agents excessive powers

Charlotte England@charlottengland
Thursday 09 February 2017 21:17
Immigrants attend a press conference for families facing deportation in Newark, New Jersey
Immigrants attend a press conference for families facing deportation in Newark, New Jersey

A mother of two who has lived in America for more than 20 years, is believed to have become the first undocumented migrant to be deported since Donald Trump came to power.

Guadalupe García de Rayos was 14-years-old when she moved to the US from Mexico.

After she was caught using a fake Social Security number during a raid in 2008 at a water park where she worked, she had been required to attend an annual meeting with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

After a review of her case and some questions, in previous years she had been allowed to leave.

In 2013 she was allowed to stay in the United States even after a judge issued a deportation order against her because she did not pose a threat to anyone, and did not fit any of Mr Obama’s criteria for priority deportation.

But this year her meeting with ICE ended differently and she was taken into custody and ordered to be deported.

Her detention sparked protests in Arizona, where one man tied himself to the wheels of an immigration van and at least six demonstrators were arrested.

Immigration advocates said they believed her deportation reflects the Trump administration's hard line on illegal immigration.

"ICE had done what President Trump wanted -- which is deport and separate our families," Carlos Garcia, the director of immigration rights group Puente Arizona, told CNN.

While President Obama's administration prioritised deporting people who were deemed a threat to public or national safety, had ties to criminal gangs, or had committed serious offences or a number of smaller crimes, Mr Trump’s definition of “criminal alien” is so broad it could be applied to the majority of unauthorised immigrants.

But in an executive order, Mr Trump stipulated last month that undocumented immigrants convicted of any criminal offence — even those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” — have become a priority for deportation.

Thousands of others now face similar treatment when they report for their regular immigration checks, lawyers from two leading civil rights groups have said.

“We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants,” Ms Rayos’s lawyer, Ray A Ybarra Maldonado, told the New York Times.

Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, also called Mr Trump’s internal enforcement order “alarming”, because it gave federal agents the power to decide who is and who is not a threat to security.

Mr Trump “took the gloves off agents and has permitted these agents to go after immigrants regardless of their ties and contributions to the United States” she said.

Ms Rayos was 14 when she left Acambaro, a city in an impoverished corner of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, and sneaked across the border into Nogales, Arizona, a three-hour drive from Phoenix. She married — her husband is also undocumented — and gave birth to a boy and a girl, who are now in their teens.

It is believed she was deported to Nogales, Mexico.

Her daughter Jacqueline said: “The only crime my mother committed was to go to work to give a better life for her children."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments