Diane Guerrero Knows What It’s Like to Worry About a Visit From ICE

Last time we spoke to Diane Guerrero before we attended the Women’s March on Washington, we talked about feminism and other civil rights issues that mattered to her.

While a lot was accomplished by the march in terms of women’s rights, it was made apparent by Diane and the many others in attendance that immigration and rights for immigrants are still at the core of what’s keeping us from achieving equality.

Now, not even a month after the inauguration, we have serious threats to immigrants coming from the White House. The Associated Press announced this morning that Trump is actually considering deploying the National Guard to help deport immigrants.

It’s not specified what the administration means by “unauthorized” immigrants. They could mean just the undocumented immigrants, which would still be bad. This could also mean immigrants who are authorized to stay here with visas, some of which Trump has already revoked. Many visa-holders have lives and families here which are already established.

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Families will be torn apart, and some of the most hard-working citizens in our country will be forced to leave.

This is a nightmare, especially for those who have already been through deportations like Diane Guerrero. She’s been one of the most active voices for immigration reform after telling her own story.

Her parents came to the U.S. illegally from Colombia before she was born, but they were deported when she was only fourteen. And as if that situation couldn’t have gotten any worse, the government didn’t come to check up on her once, leaving her basically an orphan.

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These flaws in the system are what drives Diane’s activism. In fact, she mentioned a few key things that need to change to keep this from happening to any other family.

“We need clear path for citizenship,” she said. “We need a bill passed that has a clear and comprehensive way to deal with mixed status families, as in families where some children are citizens but have parents who are not. We need to take care of the immigration and the visa system because they are both so outdated.”

Most importantly, Diane said what needs to change is the way we talk about immigrants, specifically those that are undocumented.

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“We need to stop the hateful rhetoric about people who are undocumented,” Diane continued. “That’s no way to treat the people who keep the economy moving. I would say stopping all that, and working to find a solution so families can stay together so we can create a safer system.”

But a better system isn’t going to create itself. We have to elect officials that represent our interests and understand the dangers in the way Donald Trump talks about immigrants and migrant workers. Congress is the largest problem, as they are controlled by a party whose mission is to get back jobs they allege have been “stolen” from them by these immigrants.

In 2018, most Congress-members will be up for re-election, and that’s what Diane said we should focus on.

“We have a Republican-controlled Congress, and I want to change that and put someone in place who will make that change. Voting is going to be big again, and inspiring people to go out and use their voices,” she said.

Using our voices by voting out Republicans who agree with these hateful ideas in 2018 is going to be the only way for progress.

“We saw big things happening in this last election and I don’t think people now are going to sleep,” Diane said. “They are going to be more motivated than ever, and more diligent and vigilant about their rights and knowing we have to vote. I won’t be sitting down, that’s for sure.”

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