She Hadn't Seen Mexico in 21 Years. Today, She Was Sent Back

Protests rage after deportation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2017 4:44 PM CST

(Newser) – The deportation of an immigrant mother in Phoenix who was granted leniency during the Obama administration provides an early example of how President Donald Trump plans to carry through on his vow to crack down on illegal immigration, the AP reports. The case of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos became a rallying cry Thursday for immigrant groups who believe Trump's approach to immigration unfairly tears apart families. Her arrest prompted a vocal demonstration in downtown Phoenix as protesters blocked enforcement vans from leaving a US immigration office. Seven people were arrested. White House spokesman Sean Spicer referred questions on the matter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday that the agency "will remove illegal aliens convicted of felony offenses as ordered by an immigration judge."

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Garcia de Rayos, 35, came to the US from the Mexican state of Guanajuato when she was 14 and has two children who are US citizens, per an immigrant advocacy group; the New York Times reports she had not been back to Mexico since she left. She was among workers arrested years ago in one of then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio's first investigations into Phoenix-area businesses suspected of hiring immigrants who had used fraudulent IDs to get jobs, and accused of using a Social Security number belonging to another person to get a job. She pleaded guilty in March 2009 to a reduced charge of criminal impersonation and was sentenced to two years of probation. She was placed into deportation proceedings but given leniency. On Wednesday, she showed up with her lawyer for what she thought was a routine check-in with ICE officials and was detained instead of being allowed to leave after checking in. She was deported around 10am Thursday from a Nogales border crossing and ICE worked with Mexican consular officials to repatriate her, agency spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe said in a statement. (Read more illegal immigration stories.)

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