Children of Deported Arizona Mom to Trump: We’re Not Afraid

The Rayos children meet with Rep. Grijalva before President Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress. Left to right: Ernesto Lopes of Puente Movement, Rep. Grijalva, Jaqueline Rayos-Garcia, Angel Rayos-Garcia. Photo Credit: Office of Rep. Grijalva

Dennis Newman
Public News Service

PHOENIX – “We’re here for our Mom.” That’s the message from two Arizona teenagers who attended last night’s speech by President Trump. The mother, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, made headlines this month when she became one of the first people deported under Trump’s more aggressive immigration policy.

Her son Angel says their faith gave them to courage to go to Washington and speak out.

“We came all the way from Mesa, Arizona to show him we’re not scared and we’re here fighting for our mother, for our community and for all the immigrants out there,” he said. “We’re here to speak out for those who’ve stayed quiet for so many years.”

Angel’s mom was brought to the U.S. by her parents when she was 14. She lived here for 20 years, getting married and raising her two children. She was discovered by immigration officials during a workplace raid in 2008. That was during the Obama administration, when the focus was on deporting serious criminals and Rayos was allowed to stay.

When Trump took over, the rules were changed so that anyone here without legal papers could be deported. She was sent back home when she attended a routine meeting with her immigration officer.

Yesterday was his mother’s birthday, a day the family would normally spend going out to dinner and hanging out. But the mother is 1,400 miles away in Mexico. Angel says life at home is not the same without her.

“It’s really empty, it’s like half of my heart is missing,” he added. “But then again that’s given me the motivation to fight for her, to bring her back.”

Angel and his sister Jaqueline were the guests of Arizona Congressmen Ruben Gallego of Phoenix and Raul Grijalva of Tucson. They say the Rayos family and others like them are not criminals, but hard-working people who came here for a better way of life.

Yesterday, the White House sent mixed signals on the issue. The New York Times reported that Trump is open to a pathway to legal status for immigrants who haven’t committed serious crimes.