Seven people were arrested Wednesday outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Phoenix after protesting the apprehension of a Mexican-born woman whom they fear will be deported.
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The protesters -- chanting "Justice!" and "Power to the people, no one is illegal!" -- were arrested shortly after 9 p.m. after they blocked the gates surrounding ICE's offices in an attempt to prevent vans and a bus from exiting, according to The Associated Press.
Citing the Arizona Republic newspaper, The AP reported that Garcia de Rayos was in one the vehicles, which are used to transport individuals in ICE's custody to detention centers or to the border for deportation.
In a series of tweets, the Phoenix Police Department wrote, "Some protesters at the ICE building have chosen criminal conduct instead of free speech ... Officers are working to keep EVERONE [sic] safe including a scared group of people inside an ICE van being illegally blocked by some people ... Despite repeated warnings, some engaging in criminal acts are refusing to stop. Additional arrests for the criminal acts are imminent ... Besides the few people engaged in criminal acts, most people out here are peaceful and exercising their rights properly."
Police then tweeted, "About 7 arrests made without force. Everyone remains safe so far. Hoping for continued cooperation and no more criminal conduct."
Despite repeated warnings, some engaging in criminal acts are refusing to stop. Additional arrests for the criminal acts are imminent.— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) February 9, 2017
The protest was organized after Mesa, Arizona, resident Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was ordered to be deported after a routine check-in Wednesday with the agency, reported Phoenix's ABC15.
According to ABC15, Garcia de Rayos was arrested in 2009 for impersonation. She was charged with a felony, but her lawyers say that raid was subsequently ruled unconstitutional.
Court documents obtained by ABC15 also show that Garcia had previously been ordered to self-deport.
After reporting for her normal check-in with ICE, she never came out.
Garcia de Rayos' attorney, Ray Ybarra Maldonado, told ABC15 that she is now facing deportation as part of President Donald Trump's executive order that undocumented immigrants with a history of arrests are to deported.
If she is deported, she will leave behind her husband and teenage children, who attended Wednesday's protest.
Garcia de Rayos' daughter Jaqueline told ABC15 she would like to ask President Trump, "Why he would want to take her from me? She hasn't done anything wrong and I'm not scared of him."
"It's extremely disappointing to walk in with a beautiful loving and caring human being like Guadalupe and not be able to walk out with her," Maldonado said. "She is stronger than I am, when she heard she was going to be taken in, she took a deep breath asked what the next step that would happen and she went into custody."
In a statement to ABC15, ICE said, "Ms. Garcia De Rayos is currently being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) based on a removal order issued by the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review which became final in May 2013. Relevant databases indicate Ms. Garcia De Rayos has a prior felony conviction dating from March 2009 for criminal impersonation."