'Orange Is the New Black' Actress Tearfully Describes Parents' Deportation When She Was Just 14
Diane Guerrero, who plays Maritza Ramos on the famed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, wrote an L.A. Times op-ed this weekend describing her family's deportation to Colombia when she was just 14 years old. In it, Guerrero recounts the awful moment when she returned home from high school to find her parents and brother gone, and her life permanently altered:
I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn't there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.
Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.
Guerrero managed to find her way, thanks to the support of friends and others who helped her remain in the United States and to graduate from high school and college. But she laments not being able to share numerous coming-of-age moments with her parents, from prom to various performance recitals to both of her graduations. As Guerrero points out, she is just one of tens of thousands of children whose parents' deportation has resulted in broken families and kids left to fend for themselves.
This weekend, Guerrero also appeared on CNN to discuss the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform and the very human cost of inaction on the issue. Watch below to view the interview in its entirety.