Guadalupe García de Rayos headed to her yearly meeting at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (ICE) in Phoenix as she does every year. On Wednesday, however, she was detained and has been facing deportation to Mexico, as reported by The New York Times. On Thursday, The LA Times reported that she became the first person to be deported under Donald Trump’s new immigration policies, even though she had lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years.
Rayos arrived in the United States 21 years ago and made a life for herself, having two children in the process. But in 2008, she and several other employees who worked at a water park in Mesa, Arizona were arrested on suspicion of identity theft and using forged documents in order to gain employment. The New York Times noted she had used a fake Social Security number to get a job at the park, which resulted in her spending three months in a county jail and three months in immigration detention. Since then, she has attended immigration meetings to go over her case.
In 2013, an immigration court ruled she would be deported to Mexico, but that was put on hold as, under the Obama administration, people were generally deported if they posed a public or national security threat or committed a serious felony. But now under Trump’s immigration policies, the deportation may actually happen. The New York Times reported this might be the first case of someone being arrested at their meeting and could start a dangerous precedent:
“Lawyers from two of the nation’s leading civil rights’ groups said Ms. Rayos might be the first undocumented immigrant to be arrested during a scheduled meeting with immigration officials since Mr. Trump took office. Thousands of others run a similar risk when they report for their regular immigration checks, in large part because federal agents are now free to decide who is and is not a threat to public safety, those advocates said.”
Rayos’s lawyer, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, has submitted a request for a stay of deportation after the arrest, but the Times reported ICE had not discussed it yet. A spokesperson for ICE did say Rayos “is currently being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement based on removal order issued by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.”
UPDATE #1: The LA Times reports that Rayos was deported to Nogales, Mexico on Thursday, according to Maldonado.