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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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less