The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an eerie statement on Thursday, warning its citizens of the “new reality” they face in the United States.
The statement was sparked by the deportation of Arizona woman Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a working mother of two children who are U.S. citizens. Rayos came to the U.S. from Mexico at age 14 and had been in the country for more than 20 years.
She was swept up in a 2009 workplace raid and convicted of a felony charge of using a false Social Security number, but was able to continue living in the U.S. for years, periodically checking in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. That changed Wednesday, when ICE agents detained and subsequently deported her, sparking protests in her community.
“The case of Mrs. Garcia de Rayos illustrates the new reality that the Mexican community faces in the United States due to the more severe application of immigration control measures,” the ministry’s statement reads, as translated by NPR. “For this reason, the entire Mexican community should take precautions and keep in touch with the nearest consulate, to obtain the necessary help to face this kind of situation.”
The ministry also instructed Mexicans to “familiarize” themselves with situations they may face in the U.S., and advised that Mexican consulates are available to provide assistance.
In January, Trump issued an executive order that, among other things, laid out broad and sometimes contradictory guidelines for which immigrants should be considered priorities for deportation. While the White House has said immigration efforts will focus on criminal offenders, his executive order as written could be interpreted to include nearly all undocumented immigrants as deportation priorities.