Trump's speech disheartens deported mom's kids

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Story highlights

  • "It was sad how people agreed with him," Angel and Jacqueline Rayos-Garcia said
  • Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos struggles to make sense of President's plan

Washington (CNN)The two teenagers listened warily from their seats in gallery 3, row D of the House chamber as US President Donald Trump boasted of his administration's progress in cracking down on illegal immigration.

"Bad ones" were being removed from American communities, Trump said in his first address to Congress. Gang members, drug dealers and criminals who robbed American citizens of jobs, income, even their loved ones.
Angel and Jacqueline Rayos-Garcia say their mother was not one of those people. She was simply a devoted mother, doing what she had to do to give them a better life than the one she had in Mexico. Still, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was caught up in a wave of mass deportations that Angel and Jacqueline blame squarely on the President.
The teens watched in disbelief as audience members in front of them applauded Trump's hardline stance, including his commitment to building a wall.
Didn't they see a difference between the "bad ones" and people like their mother, they wondered.
"It was sad how people agreed with him," Jacqueline told CNN after the speech. "They're not in our position."
Jacqueline Rayos-Garcia speaking at the US Capitol Tuesday.

Alone in a hotel lobby

Tuesday was Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' 35th birthday. She spent it some 2,300 miles away from her children in her hometown of Acámbaro, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.
Because she has no television in her home she watched the speech in an empty hotel lobby, alone.
She struggled to make sense of Trump's plan. She had hoped for an explanation of why families were being separated and if there was any hope for someone like her who just wanted to be reunited with her family.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos watches the speech in an empty hotel lobby.
More than anything, she was just hoping to catch a glimpse of her children on the screen that never came.
She teared up as former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear mentioned her children by name, saying they represented the consequences of a harsh immigration policy.
She was unable to answer questions about her case or elaborate on her reaction to the speech. She was simply sad and worried about the possibility of a future without her children.

Did Trump's policies spur deportation?

Garcia de Rayos' case has drawn widespread attention. Protesters in Phoenix attempted to stop her deportation in February by trying to block an Immigration and Customs Enforcement van.
Her lawyer argues her deportation was a direct result of Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration, which prioritizes the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are convicted or charged with crimes.
Garcia de Rayos came illegally to the United States in the mid-1990s with her parents when she was 14. She was arrested in 2008 during a workplace raid and convicted one year later of felony criminal impersonation.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have said there was nothing special about Garcia de Rayos' case. She committed a crime, was placed under a deportation order and her time had come, they said.
She became the subject of a removal order in 2013 and was placed under court-ordered supervision. For years, she reported regularly to a local ICE office -- until this month, when officials took her into custody and deported her.
"I am very proud of them, because I know they are fighting so that one day we can reunite," she told CNN earlier Tuesday.

"Tearing families apart"

Rep. Raul Grijalva and Rep. Ruben Gallego, both Democrats from Arizona, invited the teens to be their guests.
The teens, who were both born in the United States, took their first-ever flight to be here.
Gallego commended the teens for stepping out into the public eye. He hopes it makes President Trump understand that his policies destroy families instead of keeping them safe.
"This could be anybody else's kids," he told CNN. "Now you have two teenage kids, great teenage kids, that have no mother at home."
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Taking in their first flight

Weeks ago, Jacqueline cried before television cameras as she described what it was like to see her mother's face looking out at her through the ICE van window.
"No one should ever go through the pain of having their mom taken away from them," she said, "or the pain of packing her suitcase."
On Monday night, she and her brother both packed light. Each of them carried only a small backpack as they headed to the Phoenix airport for their first airplane flight.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos at a press conference in Nogales, Mexico, on February  9.
Their father made signs of the cross over them before they went into the security line.
That's something the teens say their mother used to do every night. Now, it's become their father's role to bless them before bedtime.
Angel was impressed by the security scanners at the airport. On the plane, Jacqueline sat in the window seat, gazing at the landscape below.
She wished her mother were still by her side, taking in the scenery.
"It's not fair that she's not with us," Jacqueline said.