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After an Arrest at a Black Lives Matter Protest: Deportation Proceedings

  • July 11, 2020

Along with 113 other protesters that night, she was sent to the Fourth Avenue Jail, which is run by Paul Penzone, the Democratic Sheriff she worked to elect. More than three years into his tenure, an important policy remained unchanged: Immigration and Customs Enforcement would know about her arrest within hours.

Officers told her she would be taken the Eloy Detention Center, an hour south.

Through her work, she said, she was aware that some undocumented immigrants had been in the detention center for at least two months after an arrest, without a court hearing.

“For me, it was like, if I am in this place, there’s no certain timeline when I will see daylight,” she said.

For much of the night, Ms. Guerrero was terrified, thinking about the conditions of detention centers she had seen and heard about, particularly amid the pandemic.

“I’ve been looking at these numbers and the conditions on the inside for months, so it was also just scary,” she said.

She watched as others who had been arrested filed out of the jail, grimacing each time she heard the metal doors open and shut, open and shut, feeling like she was watching her own chance at freedom diminish each time.

By the time she was transferred to immigration authorities, an officer there told her she, too, would be let out that morning. She had no idea that hundreds of calls and texts had been made on her behalf. And still, her lawyer was skeptical.

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