In a new op-ed for the L.A. Times, Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin star Diane Guerrero opens up about her parents’ deportation. At the age of 14, Guerrero’s biggest fear came true when she came home from school one day to an empty house after her parents had been taken away by immigration officials to be deported back to their native Colombia.
The Colombian-American actress who was brought to the U.S. as a baby, describes her experience growing up and the struggles she faced.
I consider myself lucky because things turned out better for me than for most, including some of my own family members. When my brother was deported, his daughter was just a toddler. She still had her mother, but in a single-parent household, she faced a lot of challenges. My niece made the wrong friends and bad choices. Today, she is serving time in jail, living the reality that I act out on screen. I don’t believe her life would have turned out this way if her father and my parents had been here to guide and support her.
I realize the issues are complicated. But it’s not just in the interest of immigrants to fix the system: It’s in the interest of all Americans. Children who grow up separated from their families often end up in foster care, or worse, in the juvenile justice system despite having parents who love them and would like to be able to care for them.
Now Guerrero fights for immigration reform, arguing that it’s in the best interests of Americans — not just immigrants — to fix the system. “Children who grow up separated from their families often end up in foster care, or worse, in the juvenile justice system despite having parents who love them and would like to be able to care for them,” she said.