Orange Is The New Black star Diane Guerrero has opened up about her parents' deportation from the U.S. when she was 14 years old.
Guerrero's family moved from its native Colombia to New Jersey seeking a better life, and then they relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, where the actress was born.
Her parents and elder brother were later deported back to South America, but she was allowed to remain in the U.S. because she was born there, but the teenager had to be raised by other expat Colombian families who took her in.
She has now penned an article for the Los Angeles Times recalling the miserable moment she lost her parents.
Guerrero writes, "Throughout my childhood I watched my parents try to become legal but to no avail. They lost their money to people they believed to be attorneys, but who ultimately never helped. That meant my childhood was haunted by the fear that they would be deported. If I didn't see anyone when I walked in the door after school, I panicked. And then one day, my fears were realized.
"I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn't there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over...
"Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. 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. I was lucky to have good friends, but I had a rocky existence. I was always insecure about being a nuisance and losing my invitation to stay. 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."