A Phoenix woman in the country illegally who was considered a low priority for deportation by the Obama administration has been taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Immigrant advocates say her detention reflects the severity of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, 36, had lived in the country since she was 14. She was arrested in 2008 during a workplace raid ordered by then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at Golfland Sunsplash amusement park in Mesa, Ariz., and convicted of felony identity theft for possessing false papers.
A mother of two, she continued to live in Arizona and checked in with ICE every six months. On her scheduled meeting Wednesday morning, she arrived at the ICE field office in Phoenix surrounded by supporters. An immigration attorney later told the crowd outside that Garcia de Rayos had been arrested.
"We all knew something could be different this time with the new administration," said Carlos Garcia, director of the immigrant advocacy group Puente Arizona. "She went in with the lawyer and didn't come out. That was pretty much all there was."
On Wednesday night, three protesters blocked the path of a van carrying Garcia de Rayos while chanting, “Not one more.” They were among what appeared to be dozens of protesters gathered at the field office.
ICE officials confirmed the detention on Wednesday. “Ms. Garcia de Rayos is currently being detained by ICE based on a removal order issued by the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review which became final in May 2013,” the agency said in a news release.
Garcia de Rayos' detention is an early indication of the reach of an executive order by President Trump on Jan. 25, which expanded deportation priorities to include any immigrants in the country illegally who had been convicted of a criminal offense, regardless of its severity. Previous orders by President Obama prioritized violent offenders.
Puente Arizona filed a stay-of-removal request with ICE, which was denied late Wednesday.
In the stay request, Puente Arizona argued that the original arrest and charge against Garcia de Rayos were unconstitutional, and should not be grounds for removal.
Follow Nigel Duara on Twitter: @nigelduara
9:20 p.m.: The story was updated with news of a protest and confirmation that a request to stay Garcia de Rayos’ detention was denied.
The story was originally published at 6 p.m.