PHOENIX, Ariz. — Emotional protests broke out in Phoenix Wednesday night after a Mexican-born mother-of-two was detained for deportation. Dozens of demonstrators surrounded a van carrying Guadalupe García de Rayos from a detention center, with one man putting his arm in a wheel well to stop it.
Rayos’ family and campaigners say her detention was down to President Donald Trump’s executive order vowing to deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes — regardless of circumstance.
The protests spread beyond the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) facility in Phoenix, with a petition to block the deportation quickly reaching around 3,500 signatures and hashtags such as #FreeLupita, #WhyIResist, and #GuadalupeGarcia circulating on Twitter.
In a statement, ICE said Rayos’ removal was finalized by the Department of Justice in May 2013.
The 36-year-old’s family told NBC station 12 News that she fought the order, which was for a voluntary deportation. Then the administration of President Barack Obama changed its priorities on immigration and she was allowed to stay, they said.