'Orange Is the New Black' star opens up about immigration struggles

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'Orange Is The New Black' Star Opens Up About Immigration Struggles

Diane Guerrero, 28, is best known for her role as Maritza Ramos on the Netflix hit 'Orange is the New Black,' but she's made headlines recently by sharing her family's harrowing immigration story.

In an emotional op-ed for the Los Angeles Times this week, Guerrero told the story of how her mother, father and brother were deported to Colombia when Guerrero was just 14. She recounted how her family wanted to find a better life in America.

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'Orange Is the New Black' star opens up about immigration struggles
This image released by Netflix shows Kate Mulgrew, from left, Diane Guerrero, Selenis Leyva, Jessica Pimentel, Jackie Cruz and Dascha Polanco in a scene from “Orange is the New Black.” The second season of the prison series will be available on Friday, June 6, on Netflix. (AP Photo/Netflix, K.C. Bailey)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 12: Actress Diane Guerrero attends the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA's presentation of Dynamic and Diverse: A 66th Emmy Awards celebration of Diversity at Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on August 12, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 12: Actress Diane Guerrero attends the Television Academy and SAG-AFTRA Presents Dynamic & Diverse: A 66th Emmy Awards Celebration of Diversity at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on August 12, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Vicky Jeudy and Diane Guerrero attend Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" Season 2 premiere after-party at the Hudson hotel on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 09: Actress Diane Guerrero attends Eva Longoria's Foundation dinner at Beso on October 9, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Diane Guerrero, left, and Andrea Bordeaux seen at the Television Academy's 66th Emmy Awards Dynamic and Diverse Nominee Reception at the Television Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in the NoHo Arts District in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
Jackie Cruz and Diane Guerrero attend Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" Season 2 premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)
Mishael Morgan and from left, Diane Guerrero, Andra Fuller and Abhi Sinha seen at the Television Academy's 66th Emmy Awards Dynamic and Diverse Nominee Reception at the Television Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in the NoHo Arts District in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
Vicky Jeudy and Diane Guerrero attend Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black" Season 2 premiere after-party at the Hudson hotel on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 09: Actress Diane Guerrero attends Eva Longoria's Foundation dinner at Beso on October 9, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Diane Guerrero get hands on with Sunset Overdrive and the hottest games on Xbox One on October 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Microsoft)
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The actress wrote in the LA Times, "My parents came here from Colombia during a time of great instability there. Escaping a dire economic situation at home, they moved to New Jersey, where they had friends and family, seeking a better life, and then moved to Boston after I was born."

In an interview with CNN, Guerrero said she lived in fear of her parents being deported. Eventually, her ultimate nightmare came true when she came home from school to find her parents missing.

She explains that when she got home, their cars were there, "and dinner was started and the lights were on, but I couldn't find them."

"I broke down. I hid under the bed because I was afraid that somebody was going to come for me," Guerrero told CNN's Michaela Pereira. "I don't know who that someone was but I was just so scared."

Nobody ever came. "Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me," the actress recalls in the op-ed.

While talking to CNN, Guerrero became very emotional, explaining how difficult it is to live so far apart from them. "I've grown up without them, and there's things about them that are new that I don't recognize, and I just, it hurts."

Because of her experience, Guerrero believes America's immigration system is flawed, and that major changes should be made. "This system didn't offer relief for them, and what I'm asking for is to create or find a solution for families," she said.

Her story is one of many fueling the fight on Capitol Hill to reform our immigration laws. President Obama is poised to take executive action on this issue as early as this week.



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