Not long after her mother’s deportation, 14-year-old Jacqueline Rayos García gave an emotional speech defending her mother and vowing to fight to keep other families like hers together.
Jacqueline, a U.S. citizen, was separated from her mother Guadalupe García de Rayos on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona. Guadalupe was detained on Wednesday during a periodic check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“To me it’s sad, seeing what this world has come to, seeing that this world has so much hate in it, especially since the new president that we have now,” Jacqueline said in front of press and activists. “Seeing my mom in that van, it was unexplainable. It was really heart dropping. My mom is a really kind person, she would never hurt anyone. Everyone loves her, she’d treat everyone as if she were family. She has a really big heart.”
Guadalupe was born in Mexico but arrived to the U.S. when she was 14. The mother of two was caught by ICE in 2009 during a workplace raid and convicted for using a Social Security number that wasn’t hers, which is a felony in Arizona. As part of her case, she was told to periodically check in with ICE.
“I think it’s really unfair that they just took her away just because she was working in order to support us,” Jacqueline said of her mother, holding back tears. “And no one, no one should ever go through the pain of having their mom taken away from them, or the pain of packing her suitcase. No one should go through their mother’s clothes saying ‘Oh is she going to need this, oh she’s gonna need that.’ Nobody should be packing their mother’s suitcase.”
And the young girl promised to not remain silent.
“I’m here and I’m going to keep on fighting,” Jacqueline said. “I’m going to keep on fighting for my mom and for the other families that are going through the same thing.”