“Orange is the New Black” Actress on Immigration

Her "Orange Is the New Black" character faced deportation — which she watched happen to her own family as a teenager. Now, Diane Guerrero is raising awareness about the experiences of immigrants.

Guerrero says xenophobia and racism have roots far deeper than what’s being seen today

Actress Diane Guerrero is known for her roles in “Orange is the Black” and “Jane the Virgin.” As the child of immigrants, she wants to use her platform to bring awareness to the real-life experiences of migrants in America. As the only member of her immediate family with U.S. citizenship, Guerrero saw her parents and older brother deported to Colombia when she was 14. Her character in “Orange is the New Black” was also deported to Colombia after having lived in the U.S. her entire life. In 2018, over 256,000 undocumented immigrants were deported by the Trump administration according to ICE.

“Orange is the New Black has always hit close to home for me. I grew up in a community where a lot of people were separated through incarceration or through deportation like my family was. “Orange” has always done a beautiful job citing what is happening in our society to inform us to inform the conversation, which I think is wonderful. But also, “Orange” inspired me to share my own story. And we saw how they needed to tell that story in the last season. I assume that responsibility with pride and also wonder why more of us weren't doing,” Diane Guerrero

Guerrero says xenophobia and racism have roots far deeper than what’s being seen today. Guerrero is still dealing with the psychological fallout from her family’s separation; she struggles with trust and anger issues, and as she wrote in her book, she often felt worthless emotions that led, for a while, to self-harm and drinking. But she has also found a good therapist, and as her career has blossomed, Guerrero says activism has become a part of her healing process. She speaks at universities, has volunteered with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center—an organization that helps immigrants mobilize and provides technical assistance to immigration law practitioners—and she speaks to young people whose own families have been separated.


09/24/2019 11:58 AM


  • DurgaSrinivasu P.
    09/26/2019 19:57

    I think She probably had an accidental kiss with a bike's silencer...!!

  • Octavio L.
    09/26/2019 19:17

    So proud of her & former classmate👍..

  • Steve U.
    09/25/2019 20:33

    My gawd, what happened to her lips?

  • Robert O.
    09/25/2019 13:13

    Legal is legal. It is not hatred to follow the law. Your separation from your family was a choice. Your chose, they chose, your legal family member chose to have you remain here. You are correct in saying we are a nation of immigrants but you forget to finish the sentence ....based on laws! Had your family chosen to follow the law in coming here you would have been spared this trauma. That was their doing. Take it up with your parents.

  • Red V.
    09/24/2019 17:30

    I love this woman!

  • Sandy G.
    09/24/2019 16:16

    Your ancestors all came here illegally. Can't turn around and tell people to stop doing what got you all here. That is hypocritical.

  • Edith B.
    09/24/2019 15:32

    Grausliche Schlammfigur

  • Brut
    09/24/2019 15:05

    John Oliver: comedian, TV host, and immigrant. The "Last Week Tonight" star spoke with Brut about his work with the International Refugee Assistance Project — and what America gets wrong about immigration.

  • John T.
    09/24/2019 13:06

    She needs to do something not only with her makeup but also her intelligence. This nation has made her rich and she now thinks she is smart. Just a joke trying to say something that sounds smart. Go home and thank God for allowing you to live in the USA.

  • Sandra K.
    09/24/2019 12:50

    It should be regulated properly, to let people in with the right documents, regardless of color or nationality. Otherwise if handled like the South African borders, you have a country flooded with illegal people and a country falling apart, like what SA is right now.

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