The Mexican government has issued a warning that the Mexican community in the U.S. faces “a new reality” after the deportation of a mother of teenage children from Arizona.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was an undocumented immigrant but the mother of two American-born children, was deported Thursday — just one day after she presented herself for a previously scheduled check-in with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Phoenix.
The mother was separated from her teenage children, who vowed to keep fighting for her at an emotional news conference on Thursday evening.
“The case of Mrs. Garcia de Rayos illustrates the new reality that the Mexican community lives in the United States, faced with the most severe application of immigration control measures,” Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement in Spanish today.
“For this reason, the entire Mexican community is encouraged to take precautions and to maintain contact with your closest consulate to obtain the necessary help to confront a situation of this type,” the ministry added. “It is important that nationals familiarize themselves with the distinct scenarios that they can confront and know where to turn to receive updated information and to know all of their rights.”
The ministry also noted that the Mexican government, its embassy in the U.S. and the consular network there would “continue to provide assistance and protection to all Mexicans who require it regardless of their immigration status.”
According to the Arizona Republic, Garcia de Rayos was arrested in 2008 during a workplace raid and convicted in 2009 of felony criminal impersonation. She had been using a false social security number to remain in the U.S.
Her lawyers told ABC’s Phoenix affiliate, KNXV, that the raid was subsequently ruled unconstitutional. Court documents obtained by KNVX also show that Garcia had previously been ordered to self-deport.
Rights organizations have pointed to language within Trump’s executive order called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” as having led to Garcia’s deportation and other like her.
“We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States,” the order reads.
On Thursday, the White House deferred comment on the case calling it “an ICE matter.”
ICE said that, “Ms. Garcia, who has a prior felony conviction in Arizona for criminal impersonation, was the subject of a court-issued removal order that became final in July 2013,” in a statement on Thursday.
“Ms. Garcia’s immigration case underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system, including the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the judges held she did not have a legal basis to remain in the U.S.,” the agency added. “ICE will continue to focus on identifying and removing individuals with felony convictions who have final orders of removal issued by the nation’s immigration courts.”
Puente Arizona, an activist group that describes itself as a migrant justice organization, led a protest in front of the ICE office in Phoenix on Wednesday night, and a group spokesman confirmed to ABC News that they also had people demonstrating Thursday.
Phoenix Police Sgt. John Howard confirmed to ABC News on Thursday that seven people were arrested and charged with obstructing governmental operations and obstructing a public thoroughfare.
ABC News’ Paul Blake, Meghan Keneally and Gabriel Milian contributed to this report.