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How a mom became the sudden face of Trump's campaign against undocumented immigrants.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos might be the first person affected by President Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

How a mom became the sudden face of Trump's campaign against undocumented immigrants.

When she was 14, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos moved to the U.S. from Mexico. 21 years later, she is headed back — and not by choice.

Since 2008, Garcia de Rayos, an undocumented immigrant, had been making regular check-ins at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. Usually, these visits consisted of a few questions and a general overview of her case, The New York Times reported.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos locked in a van stopped in the street by protesters outside the ICE office on Feb. 8 in Phoenix. Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic.


In 2008, Garcia de Rayos was caught in a raid conducted by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a Mesa, Arizona, water park where she worked. Garcia de Rayos, along with other employees, was arrested on charges of using forged documents to obtain employment and suspicion of identity theft. Arpaio's raids were eventually found to be unconstitutional, but Garcia de Rayos pleaded guilty to criminal impersonation, a class 6 felony.

While Garcia de Rayos was issued an order to voluntarily leave the U.S. in 2013, the Obama administration considered her case a low priority.

On Wednesday, all that changed.

On Jan. 25, President Trump issued an executive order that broadened the definition of "criminal" when it comes to deportation priorities.

Under Obama, undocumented immigrants who had committed violent or repeated crimes were considered high priority for deportation. Under Trump, that changed in a big way. In its broadest sense, Trump's order would not only make people like Garcia de Rayos high priority for deportation but also all "removable aliens who have been convicted of any criminal offense; have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense," and more.

In other words, virtually all undocumented immigrants not covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (which Garcia de Rayos was just a few months too old upon arrival to qualify for) are at risk of quick deportation.

President Trump signs an executive order to start the Mexico border wall project and expand deportation procedures. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

On Wednesday, when Garcia de Rayos walked into the ICE office, she knew she was facing arrest. She was afraid, but she did it anyway.

She was advised that it might be better for her to go into hiding. Instead, she walked into the ICE office, knowing that it might be her last free moment in the U.S. She was arrested and placed in a van. “I have faith in God,” she told the New York Times as she fought back tears. On Thursday, she was deported.

A family has been torn apart, and Garcia de Rayos' two teenage children will be left behind.

Her children, 16-year-old Angel and 14-year-old Jacqueline, are American citizens. This is their country as much as it is any of ours. It's absolutely heartbreaking to know that they'll be separated from their mother over this. It's even worse to know that this is just one family out of thousands or even millions that will be split up as the result of this new order.

People took to the street in protest, standing in the way of the ICE vans. Friends, family, and supporters turned out to do what they could to keep Garcia de Rayos from being carted off.

Seven protesters were arrested, though the Phoenix Police Department tweeted that the protests were peaceful overall. The emotional protest cut to the heart of how unfair our current system of immigration can be.

A protester locked himself to the van carrying Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos. Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP.

Photo by Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic.

The U.S. needs comprehensive immigration reform. And that means coming to terms with the fact that there are millions of people here who are undocumented.

It's up to us as a country whether we want to be a land of opportunity or the type of place that will break up families and send people back to countries they haven't known for more than 20 years.

"She's built a great life for herself and her children, and her kids want her to be home at night," her attorney, Ray Ybarra-Maldonado, told the Arizona Republic. "Her kids want her to take them to school, to be at the parent-teacher conference, to see them go to prom, and to see them graduate, and more than anything she deserves to live a life she has built."

Immigrants make America great. We cannot forget that.

A common response to discussion about undocumented immigrants is that they should have done things the "right way" when they first entered the country. Unfortunately, the current system makes doing things the "right way" really tough — especially if you're not wealthy. Earlier this week, Politico reported that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) is working with the president to make it even harder to come to the U.S. legally. Cotton's plan would cut legal immigration by half. There's nothing American about that.

Maya Casillas, 7, during a vigil to protest Trump's crackdown on "sanctuary cities." Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Want to make America great? Then we need to take care of all of its people — natural-born citizens, naturalized citizens, undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, and everyone else. We can't stand by and do nothing. Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is just as American as any of us.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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