Seven people were arrested Wednesday night at a protest aimed at impeding the deportation of Guadalupe García de Rayos, who was detained after checking in for her regular appointment at a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. García de Rayos may be one of the first undocumented immigrants to be sent back to Mexico after President Trump’s executive order realigning the government’s deportation priorities. From Phoenix’s ABC 15:
Seven people were arrested Wednesday night as protesters blocked an ICE van that was believed to be transporting Garcia. The van moved back into the garage after several hours of people holding onto the tires and blocking the vehicle with their bodies. No injuries were reported.
Garcia's attorneys say they are trying to buy the Valley mother more time in the U.S., but no one knows for sure how that will work. Garcia is among, if not the first, Arizonan to be deported under the President's new executive order.
Scenes from the protest were tweeted by the New York Times’ Fernanda Santos.
Among people blocking van from backing up and returning to ICE is Emrys Stanton, a Unitarian Universalist pastor. He's the one on right. pic.twitter.com/5nMPuvxow3— Fernanda Santos (@fernandaNYT) February 9, 2017
This is Manuel Saldana. He tied himself to one of the front wheels of the van. He said he's going to be here "for as long as it takes." pic.twitter.com/Q8mtzzIjnC— Fernanda Santos (@fernandaNYT) February 9, 2017
According to CNN, García de Rayos, who is 35, the mother of two teenagers, and has been in the U.S. since she was 14, is currently being detained by ICE. Santos reported Wednesday that García de Rayos had been checking in with ICE since 2008, after she was caught using a fake Social Security number:
Ms. Rayos was working at Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, when Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies swooped in on Dec. 16, 2008, arresting her and several other employees on charges of suspicion of identity theft and using forged documents to obtain employment. The raid was one of the first ordered by Joe Arpaio, who was sheriff at the time, under an Arizona law authorizing sanctions against employers who knowingly hired undocumented immigrants.
That offense moves Rayos up in the queue for deportation according to President Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order, which prioritizes the deportation of any undocumented immigrant convicted, charged, or liable to be charged for any criminal offense or guilty of misrepresentation to government officials. The Obama administration had previously prioritized the deportation of violent, serious, or repeat offenders and known threats to national security.
Santos writes that García de Rayos was “afraid to go to her appointment on Wednesday”:
Carlos Garcia, executive director of Puente, an immigrants’ rights group, told her she could skip it and go into hiding or seek refuge at a church in North Phoenix, joining two other unauthorized immigrants facing deportation who have lived there for months.
She decided to face the odds — a risky gamble that was also a statement.
Update, Feb. 9, 4:19 PM: The immigrant advocacy group Puente Arizona has reported that García de Rayos has been deported.