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Phoenix mayor calls deportation of undocumented woman a 'travesty'

11 February 2017

"She has been deported", Puente Arizoa Director Carlos Garcia said Wednesday. Relevant databases indicate Ms. Garcia De Rayos has a prior felony conviction dating from March 2009 for criminal impersonation.

A total of seven protesters were arrested, Phoenix police said on social network Twitter.

The role of President Trump's executive order tightening enforcement of illegal immigration laws is another point of contention.

The demonstrators were anxious that the mother-of-two would be deported and chose to block the customs van in Arizona.

Rayos, who her family say has lived in the US for 21 years, was arrested nine years ago in sweeping raids authorized by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one of the country's best-known immigration enforcers, her relatives and campaigners said.

However, President Trump's executive order last month expanded those priorities to include undocumented immigrants who have committed "any criminal offense".

Garcia's detention also sparked a protest of about 40 to 50 individuals, who gathered outside the Phoenix ICE office late into Wednesday night.

Mexico warned its citizens living in the United States on Friday to "take precautions" and remain in contact with consular officials a day after the deportation of an undocumented mother who had a routine check-in with U.S. immigration authorities.

ICE confirmed Rayos' deportation to Mexico early Thursday, noting her case "underwent review at multiple levels of the immigration court system, including the Board of Immigration Appeals".

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She has a nonviolent felony conviction.

Instead, ICE agents arrested her, and began the procedure to send her back to Mexico, a country she has not resided in for more than 20 years, the New York Times reports.

In a statement, ICE said Rayos' removal was finalized by the Department of Justice in May 2013. "Her only crime was to work here so she could support us".

The statement Friday from Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said consular officials from Nogales, Ariz., were present when Garcia de Rayos was deported to ensure it was done in a "dignified and safe" manner.

Maldonado reportedly submitted a request for a stay on her deportation, but ICE did not say anything about the request or the timing for her deportation. Her arrest was part of a series of workplace raids by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Maldonado had advised Garcia before the check-in that she might be deported.

Garcia de Rayos' husband and teenage children joined the protesters outside ICE headquarters. "No one should have the pain of having their mother taken away", said her daughter Jacqueline Rayos Garcia, 14, a student at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.

The Obama administration had prioritized expulsion of undocumented immigrants who threatened public safety or national security, had ties to criminal gang activity, committed serious felony offenses or were habitual misdemeanor criminal offenders. He said the Arpaio raids terrorized the community.