In their haste to slam President Obama’s anticipated announcement on executive action, Republicans are running roughshod over two things: 1) the fact that immigrants affected by the executive action are already here, have lived here for many years, and have jobs and families, and 2) the fact that those lives are at risk every day of being torn apart by deportation. Immigration is about real people — that’s why executive action can’t wait.
Today, the actress Diane Guerrero, who plays Maritza on “Orange is the New Black,” reminded everyone of intensely personal stakes with an LA Times op-ed and cable news appearances discussing how her immigrant parents and brother were deported when she was 14.
Diane, working with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, told the heartbreaking story of how she came home from high school to find dinner half-ready but her family nowhere in sight. It was her neighbors and friends of the family who told her what had happened to her parents, and others who worked together to help raise Diane in the absence of her parents. Today, Diane’s parents are still in Colombia, and she considers herself lucky to have made it through high school and college. But her niece was not so fortunate — she lives behind bars and is the “reality I act out on screen,” according to Diane.
In her op-ed and TV appearances, Diane asked others to remember that “every deportation has a story.”
“We all came from somewhere,” she said on CNN. “It is so difficult for some people to become documented. My parents tried forever, and there was no relief for them.” That’s why, she said, President Obama and others need to “create a system that works for families.”