Phoenix mom deported; police release names of 7 arrested while protesting her deportationPosted: Updated:
The Valley mother at the center of a protest outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix has been deported. At the same time, seven people arrested while protesting her deportation are awaiting their initial court appearances.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is among the first impacted by the president's efforts to crack down on illegal aliens.
Her family announced the development during a Puente Arizona news conference late Thursday morning.
An ICE spokeswoman confirmed it with a short statement.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers removed Ms. Garcia to Mexico Thursday morning shortly before 10 a.m. MST through the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) coordinated her repatriation closely with Mexican consular representatives."
Watching and waiting
Family and supporters were at the regional ICE office in Phoenix on Wednesday, waiting to learn the fate of Garcia de Rayos -- a mother, wife and friend. As more time passes, they grew more worried.
Just before noon, Garcia de Rayos walked into the regional ICE office for a check-in, but instead of a regular check-in, she was issued an order of deportation.
She was deported a little less than 24 hours later.
[WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEBODY IS DEPORTED? Deported immigrants desperate and depressed in Nogales, Sonora]
"She's always there for me. No one should ever have to go through this," her 16-year-old son, Angel, said Wednesday night.
Her family and supporters say this is a direct result of President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal aliens.
[COMMENTARY: President Trump, don't deport me]
The back story
Garcia de Rayos was arrested in one of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids in 2008. She was convicted of a felony and served six months in ICE detention before being released. They thought her case was cleared -- until Wednesday.
As the demonstration was unfolding, ICE issued a statement about the situation.
"Ms. Garcia, who has a prior felony conviction in Arizona for criminal impersonation, was the subject of a court-issued removal order that became final in July 2013. Ms. Garcia’s immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system, including the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the judges held she did not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S. ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with felony convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation’s immigration courts."
As day turned to night Wednesday, a prayer vigil was held to help calm everyone's uncertainty about what Garcia de Rayos' future holds.
"At this point, I think the more time that passes, it's a little bit scarier and we have more anxiety around it, but we're not going anywhere until we find out what's happening," Francisca Porchas, a Puente Arizona organizer, said. Puente Arizona is part of the larger Puente Human Rights Movement, which "is a grassroots migrant justice organization ...."
Late Wednesday night, protesters blocked a van that Garcia de Rayos was in to keep it from leaving for about an hour.
Phoenix police officers responded to the scene at around 9:30 p.m. They arrested seven people, according to a police spokesman.
The Phoenix Police Department released their names and mugshots late Thursday morning.
- Walter Staton, 35
- Manuel Saldana, 31
- Beth King, 57
- Angeles Maldonado,36
- Maria Castro, 23
- Kenneth Chapman, 41
- Luke Black, 37
They were expected to make their initial court appearances sometime Thursday.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who has openly criticized Trump's plans to deport illegal immigrants, issued a statement of his own Thursday, calling what happened to Garcia de Rayos "a travesty."
"Last night's events show President Trump's mass deportation plan makes our country less safe.
"Rather than tracking down violent criminals and drug dealers, ICE is spending its energy deporting a woman with two American children who has lived here for more than two decades and poses a threat to nobody. It is outrageous, and precisely why as long as I am mayor, Phoenix will not participate in the 287(g) program or enter into any other agreements with the Trump Administration that aim to advance his mass deportation plans.
"What happened last night to Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is a travesty. She has been peacefully living and working in the Valley for more than two decades, and by all accounts was building a life and contributing to our community. She has now been torn apart from her family.
"Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is in Arizona today. I have a message for him: Do much more than go to the border to stare at the fence and take photos. Take a much closer look around. Look at how immigration has benefited our state and our culture. Try to understand how closely our economy and that of Mexico are linked, and what will happen to our state if we lose 100,000 jobs tied to exports with Mexico and Latin America because of the President's antagonism. President Trump is tearing families apart, undermining public safety and will ultimately hurt our economy."
Every day, often twice a day, white buses chartered by the Department of Homeland Security drop immigrants off at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales. These are people like Zuniga, who have been targeted for deportation due to prior convictions, non-citizens who just finished prison sentences, and recent border-crossers who were caught in the desert by Border Patrol agents.
They are told to walk south, back across the border into Mexico, where they are processed by Mexican immigration authorities and given information about where they can find a safe place to sleep.
You can spot the recent deportees by looking for the clear plastic bags that DHS officials give them to hold their belongings. They also have no shoe laces when they leave custody. It’s a suicide prevention measure.
“You’ll see the depression. You’ll see the sadness. You’ll see the fear and uncertainty. They’re very vulnerable here,” said Father Sean Carroll, who runs the Kino Border Initiative.
About 7 arrests made without force. Everyone remains safe so far. Hoping for continued cooperation and no more criminal conduct.— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) February 9, 2017
Besides the few people engaged in criminal acts, most people out here are peaceful and exercising their rights properly.— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) February 9, 2017
Officers are working to keep EVERONE safe including a scared group of people inside an ICE van being illegally blocked by some people— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) February 9, 2017
Some protesters at the ICE building have chosen criminal conduct instead of free speech.— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) February 9, 2017