“Cynthia, they are taking your mom!”
These were the chilling words Cynthia Diaz’s father screamed on a Saturday morning in May 2011 as she awoke in her bed. Confused, she approached the front door and saw 10 officers. Her mother handcuffed. Taken into a van. An ICE raid had changed her life forever. “My mom answered the door and she was still in her pajamas and they took her just like that,” Diaz told Fox News Latino in a video interview.
Diaz, 18, is a U.S. citizen and one of three immigration activists who on Tuesday began a hunger strike outside The White House in Washington D.C. demanding their loved ones be released from immigration detention and not deported. The strike is part of the 'Not 1 More' deportation movement. They are also hoping to pressure President Barack Obama to halt needless deportations of non-criminals and immigrants with low level convictions which, they say, are tearing families apart. A recent New York Times article reported two-thirds of deportations under Obama's presidency were of people with either no criminal backgrounds or minor violations.
“I’m only 18. I’m a small figure. But I’m strong mentally and spiritually and I know I have a lot of support, so as long as I can I will be on a hunger strike in front of President Obama’s house,” she said.
Diaz is studying at the University of Arizona on a full ride scholarship, but her mother, Maria Del Rosario Rodriguez, is an undocumented immigrant. She was deported in 2011 and re-entered the country illegally in March; now she is sitting in an immigration detention center. Rodriguez crossed the U.S.- Mexico border joining 150 others as part of the ‘Bring Them Home’ protest.
“The point she was trying to make was that she deserves to be home with her family and Phoenix is her home and not Mexico, where she doesn’t even know the country,” said Diaz, who said her mother came to the United States when she was 14, is a good citizen who never even had a traffic ticket, graduated from high school, attended community college, and had her small business in Phoenix.
“We want our family members back. I miss my mom a lot. Our house in Phoenix is not home anymore without her warmth there. It’s really difficult for me. I had to grow up really fast.
I had to take care of myself and my little brother. She wasn’t there to see my high school graduation and I hope to bring her back really soon so she can at least see my brother’s graduation. My brother is a sophomore in high school.”
Diaz also told Fox News Latino she feels abandoned by Obama.
“I remember my grandpa, he’s a citizen of the United States and I remember him voting for President Obama because Obama promised the first thing he was going to do was help immigration reform and until today he hasn’t done anything but DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and if he can do DACA, I know he can do DACA for all,” she said.
“I know Obama says he’s doing everything he can. But he’s just saying and not really doing.”