USA Today Network, Feb., 9, 2017.
PHOENIX — For the past four years, federal immigration authorities have given Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos a pass to remain in the U.S. rather than deport her back to Mexico.
But that changed Wednesday, when Garcia de Rayos went to check in as usual at the central Phoenix offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Instead of being released, she was taken into custody, while her husband, two children — both U.S.-born citizens — and a group of supporters watched in tears.
And by Wednesday night, her case had become the new epicenter of the debate over immigration enforcement, as protesters surrounded the ICE office on North Central Avenue in an attempt to block buses from taking her away. Garcia de Rayos apparently was in one of those vehicles, which are used to transport people in ICE custody to detention centers, or to the border for deportation.
Her family and supporters fear Garcia de Rayos, 36, may now be deported quickly to Mexico. That, they say, would make her among the first casualties under a shift in policy by ICE under President Trump.
After 9 p.m., police officers amassed on the south side of the facility as protesters continued to block access, chanting “Justice!” and “Power to the people, no one is illegal!”