PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Family members of a Valley woman who was deported to Mexico following a routine check-in at the Phoenix ICE office are specking out.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was deported, following a routine check-in she has been doing for the last nine years. Garcia was arrested in 2008, during a workplace raid orchestrated by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for which she was convicted of a felony, for using a false ID.
Garcia's deportation sparked protests in Phoenix. According to Phoenix Police, seven people were arrested after they blocked ICE vans from leaving a Phoenix location Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Garcia's family spoke out about her, in the aftermath of her deportation.
"Seeing my mom in that van, couldn't explain it, Heart-stopping," said Garcia's daughter, Jacqueline Rayos. "My mom is kind, would never hurt anyone, treated everyone like family."
"Working, go to church on Sundays like your family," said Garcia's husband, Aaron Rayos. "We do same stuff you do. Are you a threat to the United States? Are we a threat just because of our documents?"
Garcia's supporters, who know her as "Lupita", said with the latest developments, the message to all other undocumented immigrants is simple.
"I know if it was my family, and I knew ICE was going to deport them, I would probably not show up and the likelihood that people saw what happened yesterday, they will probably not show up," said Carlos Garcia with the Puente Movement.
Despite some well-expressed discontent or disapproval over Garcia's deportation, there are those who support the decision to deport her.
"I think she should have done it legally," Christele Wilson, who is visiting Mesa, and was at a cafe there. "It is sad leaving family. Makes my heart sad, but we have laws for a reason."
"The law is here for everybody, citizen or not," said Steve Hawlow. "If I break the law, I get arrested and I am legal, so why wouldn't an illegal get arrested if they break the laws?"
Statement from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton:
"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."
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
My statement regarding the federal detention of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos and last night's public protest. pic.twitter.com/yIqAt8kAgL— Greg Stanton (@MayorStanton) February 9, 2017