‘Orange is the New Black’ actress Diane Guerrero tells Texas Book Festival how family deportation shaped her

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Remy Martin)
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Remy Martin)

‘Orange is the New Black’ star Diane Guerrero grew tired of interviews focused on her beauty routine and favorite lipstick. It was time, she says, to tell her real story.

Guerrero recently released the book “In The Country We Love: My Family Divided,” which reveals layers about the actress that go beyond the life of a television star. At a packed Texas Book Festival tent on Saturday, Guerrero shared parts of her personal journey as the child of undocumented Colombian immigrants who were deported when she was a teenager.

Guerrero will never forget the day when at 14, she came home from school and discovered that her family was gone. She remembers seeing her mother’s rice and beans in the kitchen, a sign that she had already started dinner. A neighbor told her that immigration officers had removed her family, and all of a sudden Guerrero’s world turned upside down.

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The morning her parents were taken away, Guerrero remembers running late for school and arguing with her mother about eating breakfast. “It was a huge fight,” she says. “The whole day at school I was thinking about this fight, so when I got home I was going to say sorry.” But she never got the chance.

Guerrero’s father had prepared her for the possibility that someday the family might be deported, and so she went to stay with friends. “That day I made decision to stay,” she says. “People ask me why I didn’t go with my family, but I’m an American citizen. The U.S. is all I know. I decided to stay, so that I could eventually make my parents proud.”

Author: Nancy Flores

Nancy Flores is a features writer who covers general assignments including Latino culture for the Austin American-Statesman and Austin360.

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