Fans of Orange is The New Black are used to seeing Diane Guerrero as the hardscrabble inmate Maritza Ramos. But, the actress showed a far more vulnerable side when she appeared on CNN Monday to discuss her parents' deportation back to their native Colombia.
Guerrero was only 14 when it happened, but her wounds still run deep. "I got home and their cars were there and dinner was started and the lights were on," Guerrero recalled of the night her parents were taken away. "But, I couldn't find them. So, yes, it was really hard. That was really hard. The neighbors came in and…they were just like, 'I'm so sorry but your parents were taken away.'"
Guerrero has since been a vocal advocate for immigration reform and wrote about how much her life changed after her parents were deported in an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times this past weekend.
"Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me," the 28-year-old actress wrote. "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."
Guerrero had to rely on the kindness of friends who took her in and helped shape her into who she is today. "I was always insecure about being a nuisance and losing my invitation to stay," she continued. "And, 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."
Guerrero told CNN that now she sees her parents once a year, but there is something missing from their relationship. "We've been separated for so long, I feel like sometimes we don't know each other," she said, holding back tears.