Kino Border Initiative Speaks Out Against Family Separation in Wake of Guadalupe García De Rayos’s Deportation

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos

The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) issued the following statement earlier today about the deportation Guadalupe García De Rayos, who has found refuge at Kino’s Nazareth House, a shelter for women and children migrants.

Guadalupe’s deportation makes visible the terrible reality of family separation which has taken place for many years due to a broken immigration system. We at the KBI regularly witness the pain and suffering that results from inhumane and unjust immigration policies. We call on the new Administration to protect family unity and respect the dignity of each individual. Guadalupe’s strength and courage motivate us as an organization to continue promoting immigration policies that address the root causes of migration: severe economic need, family separation and violence. We work for the day when families like Guadalupe’s will be able to stay together in the U.S. and contribute fully to the social fabric of the United States and to the common good.

On Thursday, February 9, 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported García De Rayos, a 35-year mother of two teenagers who had been living in the U.S. for over 21 years. García De Rayos was deported to Nogales, Mexico, after being arrested in Phoenix during her semi-annual check-in to request permission to remain in the U.S. According to The New York Times, For eight years, she had checked in at the federal ICE officials, a requirement since she was caught using a fake Social Security number during an immigration raid in 2008 at a water park where she worked.

During a press conference at the KBI’s comedor (soup kitchen) Guadalupe spoke powerfully of her love for and commitment to her U.S. citizen children: “I’m doing this for my kids so they have a better life. I will keep fighting so they can keep studying in their home country. We’re a united family. We’re a family who goes to church on Sundays.” Guadalupe’s son, Angel, expressed the deep pain he was experiencing by saying that “It’s a nightmare having your mother taken away from you.” Her daughter, Jacqueline, put into words what many separated family members feel: “We don’t deserve to go through this; no family deserves to go through this.”

Press Conference video via ABC 15 Arizona:

The Kino Border Initiative is a bi-national organization that works in the area of migration and is located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI was inaugurated in January of 2009 by six organizations from the United States and Mexico: The California Province of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist, the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus, the Diocese of Tucson, and the Archdiocese of Hermosillo. In 2015, ISN honored KBI with the “Legacy of the Martyrs Award” recognizing its commitment to responding to the needs of the marginalized in the spirit of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador and their lay companions killed in 1989.

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