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Actor and activist Diane Guerrero appeared on an immigration-themed episode of Chelsea Handler’s talk show this past weekend to open up about her family’s deportation story and stress the urgent need for immigration reform.
The “Orange Is the New Black” star has been candid about the deportation of her family members — her mother, father, and brother — when she was just 14 years old. It’s a topic she’s also discussed in depth in her new book, “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided.”
“I came home from school one day when I was at the beginning of high school,” Guerrero told Handler, “and then they were gone.”
Desperate to resolve their immigration status, Guerrero’s parents had sought out help from someone who promised legal aid but instead scammed them out of their hard-earned money.
“Many undocumented immigrants go through that in our communities because they are afraid,” she said. “They don’t go to the right people, so they end up giving their money to people who scam them, and that’s what happened to my parents.”
Guerrero, an American citizen, told Handler she found out from a neighbor that her parents had been arrested and taken away by immigration officials.
No one from the government came to check in on her, she said, and she shuffled from friend’s home to friend’s home until she completed high school and eventually went to college.
While Guerrero remains separated from her parents and brother, she’s used her prominence to urge Latinos and immigrants to empower themselves by voting.
“I wanted to come out with this story because I wanted to be considered part of this narrative,” Guerrero continued. “Immigration is part of this country’s fabric.”