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'Sometimes I wonder, did I make the wrong decision?' Diane Guerrero's journey and decision to stay in the country she loves




Diane Guerrero and A Martinez at KPCC.
Diane Guerrero and A Martinez at KPCC.
Lori Galarreta

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Diane Guerrero is best known for her roles on Netflix’s wildly popular series “Orange is the New Black” and the CW’s "Jane the Virgin." 

But in 2014, she wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles times titled "My Parents were deported."

At just 14 years old, Diane was separated from her family and forced to make some life-changing decisions.

She’s written a book about her experiences titled “In the Country We Love: My family divided

The cover of Diane Guerrero's memoir
The cover of Diane Guerrero's memoir "In the Country We Love: My Family Divided".
Henry Holt & Company


Diane spoke to host, A Martinez, about her new memoir, her decision to stay and life after she was separated from her family.

Interview Highlights:

On why she decided to stay in the U.S. after her family was deported:

"So I stayed, I mean, the States is the only place I knew and my plan was 'I'm going to go to college, I'm going to make something of myself and I'm going to bring my parents back and then we're going to be happy again' and then...obviously it wasn't so easy."

On feeling guilty for staying:

"Sometimes I wonder, did I make the wrong decision? Was I not smart? Was it really unreasonable for me to stay...of course, of course, I have so much guilt. I feel, maybe I was selfish to stay."

On living with the fear of deportation:

"My parents had strived so hard to become residents of this country. They tried to find a path for citizenship and could not find one. I mean, I write in the book how the many times that they tried so it was a daily subject of conversation in my household...My dad was just telling me 'Listen, if anything happens, you know this is a possibility.' So, that was engrained in my mind so anytime I wouldn't see them I would get this anxiety and would think that that was why and then of course, this day it actually did happen."

On why people should educate themselves:

"I just want to encourage those who are going through the same thing or are experiencing the same thing to just educate themselves as much as possible. I think that was what lacked in my family and for me is that we didn't really know the full details of what was going on in the country. It was like we were so scared so we just listened to a lot of hearsay and we got with bad lawyers. Now that I'm working with all these organizations, right now I'm working with ILRC, Immigration legal resource center and Mi Familia Vota...but that's why I'm out here doing what I'm doing because I want people to just--first you're scared but then you have to take action, you have to know what your rights are you have to know what your next steps are..."

Guerrero's memoir was released Tuesday, May 3. For a sneak peek, an excerpt of the first chapter is available below:

"In the Country We Love" excerpt

To hear Diane's full interview, click the blue play button above.