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Puente, a human rights advocacy group, led a protest in Phoenix against President Trump immigration policy Feb. 5, 2018, almost a year after the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos of Mesa, Ariz. Garcia de Rayos was deported to Mexico on Feb. 9, 2017, a day after checking in at the Phoenix office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix, calling for change nearly a year after an Arizona woman was deported after she went for a routine check in with the federal agency.

The arrest and deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, of Mesa, Ariz., was a catalyst that stirred protests across the state, said Maria Castro, a community organizer with Puente, a human rights advocacy group.

“The community rose up, we fought hard and many of us were arrested, and she was still deported,” said Castro. “Even with her kids banging on the side of a van, telling the ICE agent, ‘This is my mom, I want to keep her here.’ That was a really hard moment for the movement.”

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For 15 year old Jacqueline Rayos Garcia, the year without her mother has been hard. Despite flying to Mexico three times over school breaks to visit her mother, she misses being able to talk in person every day.

“It’s been really heartbreaking, because it’s just like a big chunk of me has been ripped away,” said Rayos Garcia. “It hasn’t been the same, because she’s usually there when I get home,
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asking me how has my day been, how was school. And now I don’t have anyone to talk to.”

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was locked in a van that was stopped in the street by protesters outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Phoenix. Her attorney said the Mexican consulate informed him the Garcia de Rayos was deported to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

Rob Schumacher, The Arizona Republic

Her mother’s deportation last year drew national attention not long after President Trump took office. It was followed by other instances in Phoenix and around the country that continued to draw attention and trigger more protests against his approach to enforcement.

Detained after checking in with ICEGarcia de Rayos was taken into custody Feb. 8, 2017, by ICE officials in Phoenix during a check in at the agency’s offices. rather than deporting her back to Mexico. She was deported Feb. 9, 2017, and remains in Mexico.

She had a prior felony conviction that stemmed from a workplace raid in 2008, where she was caught using a fake Social Security number to obtain work. Despite a court issued removal order, she had been allowed to remain in the country as long as she checked in with ICE, which she had done seven times prior, her attorney said at the time.

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Feb. citizenship?

Of particular concern to activists are people who entered the country illegally, have jobs or are in school, and have been allowed to stay here as long as they checked in with immigration officials on a regular basis. In a few instances last year in Phoenix, people were taken and deported as they came to check in as they had before, according to their attorneys and family members.

Concerns for ‘Dreamers’More recently, concerns over whether Congress will pass a permanent solution to allow “Dreamers,” who were brought to the United States illegally as children but have grown up here, to remain, as they had under an Obama administration policy.

Castro said activists have little confidence that immigration reform will be able to help Garcia de Rayos return to her family anytime soon.

“Any kind of deal that comes out of this White House is ethnic cleansing,” she said. “He’s trying to white out America and holding the Dreamers hostage,
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dangling this piece of relief in exchange for extreme enforcement.”