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Deported mother holds press conference in Mexico

Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 01:54:32-05

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A Phoenix mother who was deported was reunited with her children on Wednesday in Nogales, Sonora.

Protests erupted in Phoenix Wednesday when Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was ordered to be deported after showing up for a routine immigration check.

Garcia de Rayos was arrested in 2009 for impersonation as part of a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office raid. She was charged with a felony, but her attorneys say that raid was later ruled unconstitutional.

She reported for a regular check-in with Immigration Customs Enforcement Wednesday morning but never came out.

Garcia's husband and teenage children joined protesters outside ICE headquarters, as the family now faces being separated.

"I'd ask him 'why he would want to take her from me?' She hasn't done anything wrong, and I'm not scared of him," said Garcia’s daughter, Jaqueline, of what she would ask President Trump if she could.

Court documents obtained by KGUN 9's sister station ABC15 showed Garcia had previously been ordered to self-deport.

At the press conference on Wednesday evening, Garcia de Rayos met with her teenage children. She said she spent three months in jail, and three months in ICE custody. After she got out she struggled but was doing check-ins like she was supposed to with ICE.

Before her last check-in, Garcia de Rayos said she thought that this would happen, but she did it because she didn't feel like hiding. She says her kids have a dream to study in the U.S. 

Garcia de Rayos said when she was deported agents never told her where they were taking her, and said she feels like President Donald Trump is making an example out of her. Her message to immigrants in the U.S. is to not be afraid to ask for help from organizations willing to help.

The deportation case has been emotional and traumatic for the family, they said.

"Last night I felt so empty without her," Garcia de Rayos' daughter said. "I love her so much and I'm more than happy to be here with her." 

Garcia de Rayos is getting help from the Kino Border Initiative, an organization that assists deported migrants. She is staying a women's shelter in Nogales, Sonora.

ICE did release a statement regarding Garcia de Rayos case: 

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation officers removed Ms. Garcia to Mexico Thursday morning shortly before 10 a.m. MST through the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) coordinated her repatriation closely with Mexican consular representatives.
 
Ms. Garcia, who has a prior felony conviction in Arizona for criminal impersonation, was the subject of a court-issued removal order that became final in July 2013. Ms. Garcia's immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system, including the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the judges held she did not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S.  ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with felony convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation's immigration courts."