February 09, 2017
The detention of an illegal immigrant sparked a protest Wednesday outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs office in Phoenix that resulted in seven arrests as crowds blocked ICE buses on nearby streets.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, 36, arrived at the office for her routine check in, but instead of being released–under President Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown– she was detained.
Garcia de Rayos, 36, was considered a “low priority” for deportation under the Obama administration and had to check in with ICE officials every six months following a 2008 conviction for felony identity theft for having false papers, The Los Angeles Times reported.
She was joined Wednesday by her husband and son–both U.S. citizens– and supporters, some of whom cried when she was taken in to custody, The Arizona Republic reported.
The family reportedly fears she could be deported to Mexico.
“Ms. Garcia de Rayos is currently being detained by ICE based on a removal order issued by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review which became final in May 2013,” and ICE statement read.
News of her detainment spread quickly and protesters were seen attempting to block the ICE van Garcia de Rayos was believed to be inside. Some protesters chanted, “Shame on you.”
Puente Arizona Director Carlos Garcia said the arrest was in direct result of Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown.
“We all knew something could be different this time with the new administration,” Garcia told the Los Angeles Times. “She went in with the lawyer and didn’t come out. That was pretty much all there was.”
Police posted on Twitter that they arrested about seven protesters, but added that the demonstration was mainly peaceful.
“Besides the few people engaged in criminal acts, most people out here are peaceful and exercising their rights properly,” police said. “Everyone remains safe so far. Hoping for continued cooperation and no more criminal conduct.”
By 1 a.m. Thursday, less than two dozen protesters stood in the dark outside the building talking quietly, with just a handful of police looking on.
The protesters said they initially succeeded in stopping the vehicles from leaving, but said they later left the grounds by another exit. They didn’t know if Garcia de Rayos had still been aboard.
Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order expanded deportation priorities to any illegal immigrants who had been convicted of a crime, regardless of its severity. The Obama administration previously prioritized violent offenders.
Puente Arizona had filed a stay in Garcia de Rayos’ removal, but it was denied.