Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos is locked in a van that is stopped in the street by protesters outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Phoenix on Feb. 8, 2017. Apparently fearing her deportation, activists blocked the gates surrounding the office near central Phoenix in what the Arizona Republic says was an effort to block several vans and a bus inside from leaving.
Rob Schumacher—The Arizona Republic/AP
By Justin Worland
February 9, 2017

Police arrested seven people outside a Phoenix Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office Wednesday as officials tried to transport a longtime U.S. resident thought to be an undocumented immigrant, according to reports.

Guadalupe García de Rayos, who left Mexico more than 20 years ago and has not returned, showed up at the ICE office Wednesday for an annual review required since she was caught using a fake Social Security number in 2008, according to a New York Times report. In the past, officials released Rayos after questioning, but this year they arrested her and placed her in a van to transport her. It remains unclear whether they intended to deport her immediately or transfer her to a detention center.

A protester locked himself to the van carrying Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos that is stopped by protesters outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, in Phoenix on Feb. 8, 2017.
Rob Schumacher—The Arizona Republic/AP

The story prompted immediate outcry from family and others in the community who showed up outside the ICE office to protest, including a demonstrator who chained himself to a government van. The protests remained nonviolent, but police said they arrested people engaged in criminal conduct.

The arrests follow a tightening of immigration measures from President Donald Trump. An executive order signed by the new president calls for the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have been charged with a crime. It also gives the immigration officer latitude to deport someone who poses “a risk to public safety or national security.”

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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