‘Orange is the New Black’ actress on life after parents’ deportation

Diane Guerrero is widely known for her roles in “Orange is the New Black” and “Jane the Virgin,” yet few of her fans knew about…
‘Orange is the New Black’ actress on life after parents’ deportation

FILE- “Orange the New Black” actress Diane Guerrero penned an op-ed piece expressing life after her parents’ deportation to Colombia when she was 14. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week )

Diane Guerrero is widely known for her roles in “Orange is the New Black” and “Jane the Virgin,” yet few of her fans knew about her troubled childhood until she penned an op-ed piece for the L.A. Times.

When Guerrero was 14 years old, she returned home one day to find the house empty—her parents had been deported.

SEE ALSO: Republicans looking for ways to stop Obama on immigration

Guerrero’s parents had fled Colombia before she was born, escaping instability and a dire economic situation to make a better life for their family in the U.S.

Once they settled in Boston, Guerrero’s parents pursued legal citizenship relentlessly, yet never had success, even falling victim to scams, according to Guerrero.

Perhaps the most disconcerting part of Guerrero’s story is that after immigration officers whisked her parents away, nobody came to check up on her.

“Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.”

In order to pursue her education at Boston Arts Academy, Guerrero and her family decided that she should stay in Boston, living with friends while her parents were forced back to Colombia.

Diane Guerrero's parents were deported.

Diane Guerrero advocates for immigration. (Photo: Instagram/@DianeGuerrero_)

While remaining in the U.S. allowed Guerrero the chance to pursue her acting career, the distance between she and her family has been a constant shadow on her success.

“Though I was surrounded by people who cared about me, part of me ached with every accomplishment, because my parents weren’t there to share my joy,” she stated in the op-ed.

SEE ALSO: Obama on immigration: ‘What I’m not going to do is just wait’

Guerrero’s personal history has motivated her to become a fighter for immigration reform. She believes that reform is in the best interest of not only immigrants, but also Americans.

“Keeping families together is a core American value,” Guerrero said. “Not one more family should be separated by deportation.”