When she was 14, Diane Guerrero came home to find an empty house. Her story is like many others.
Diane Guerrero is the Colombian-American actress better known as Maritza Ramos from the Netflix original series "Orange Is the New Black."
On Nov. 15, 2014, Guerrero wrote a moving op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. She begins by telling us why her family moved to the United States:
"My parents came here from Colombia during a time of great instability there. Escaping a dire economic situation at home, they moved to New Jersey, where they had friends and family, seeking a better life, and then moved to Boston after I was born."
Then comes the sad part of the story: How she came back home one day, at the age of 14, to find an empty house.
"Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn't there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over."
"Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own."
As a U.S. citizen, Guerrero was able to find non-family members to help support her as she finished high school and college, but she still had to work several jobs to earn money — and her family was thousands of miles away in Colombia.
After her op-ed was published, Guerrero went on CNN to speak about her experience and how it has inspired her to do work as a volunteer at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
She's clearly trying to hold herself together as she retells the story. But about 3:10, she lets herself break down into tears.
Guerrero ends her op-ed with these moving words:
"I don't believe it reflects our values as a country to separate children and parents in this way. Nor does it reflect our values to hold people in detention without access to good legal representation or a fair shot in a court of law. President Obama has promised to act on providing deportation relief for families across the country, and I would urge him to do so quickly. Keeping families together is a core American value."
"Congress needs to provide a permanent, fair legislative solution, but in the meantime families are being destroyed every day, and the president should do everything in his power to provide the broadest relief possible now. Not one more family should be separated by a deportation."