Her parents were aware that they might be deported at any time and she remembers her father telling her where he kept important documents. Guerrero says that her parents tried becoming legal residents many times, but they just didn’t qualify.
The day when when her parents were deported, she came home from school to find dinner half-started and an empty home with her parents nowhere to be found. She heard from the neighbors that her parents were taken by immigration officers and no one from immigration showed up telling her what had happened. She was left to fend for herself with the help of family and friends.
After a while, you’re growing up so quickly and you begin to not know them anymore. You’re left with the memories you had as a kid, but you’re not a kid anymore and your experiences are separate,” says Guerrero. Her parents now live in Colombia, but she visits them at least once a year.
“We have a broken system, and we need politicians who are going to fix it. We need someone who’s going to govern on behalf of everyone in this country, including immigrants. The fact of the matter is, the candidates need the Latino vote to win. If we feel we’re not being represented and if we feel like the candidate is insulting us, ignoring us, and is not leading with fairness and empathy, I think that’s going to be reflected in turnout,” she says.
Diane Guerrero’s memoir comes out on May 3, where you can learn more about her immigration story.