By Morgan Gstalter
“Orange is the New Black” star Diane Guerrero fought back tears Saturday as she told tens of thousands of protesters about being separated from her immigrant parents at age 14.
Guerrero attended the "Families Belong Together" march in Washington, D.C., where she told the crowd about her immigrant parents being deported when she was a teenager.
The actress condemned President Trump’s "zero tolerance" immigration policy that led to more than 2,000 migrant children being separated from their parents. The policy, announced in April, seeks to prosecute those who illegally cross into the U.S. at the southern border.
“I would have had a much different story to tell if I had been imprisoned after being separated from my family, without a warm bed and only the cold faces of [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents and the crinkly feeling of a Mylar blanket,” Guerrero said.
“I was lucky enough to be with my parents until I was 14. Having my parents tell me that I could do anything. That I was special. And that I matter," she added.
The actress noted that many children crossing the border are coming with their families to seek refuge from violence or hardship in their home countries.
“It’s a denial of children’s humanity,” Guerrero said. “To say that they were born in a difficult or dangerous place at the wrong time, that they don’t deserve a second chance.”
“That they shouldn’t ask for refuge,” she added.
Guerrero wrote about her story in a 2014 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.
Her parents fled hardship in Colombia and settled in New Jersey to seek a better life, she said.
She was born in Boston and watched for years as her parents attempted to gain U.S. citizenship. They were later deported one day while she was at school, she wrote.
“Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn't there,” Guerrero wrote. “Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.”
“How many more children are we willing to subject to a lifetime of pain?” She asked.
She was one of many celebrities who joined activists across the country to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys and America Ferrera also attended the D.C. rally.