An American Story

‘Orange is the New Black’ star Diane Guerrero joins celeb immigrants on ‘Chelsea’ to talk politics and her family’s deportation

NETFLIX

Donald Trump isn’t the only one talking about immigration. Orange is the New Black’s Diane Guerrero, Craig Ferguson, and Charlize Theron joined Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix talk show this week to discuss the hot topic from their own personal experiences of coming to America, both the serious and the silly.

On the serious side: Guerrero, who is best known for playing Maritza Ramos on Orange is the New Black, told Handler about the deportation of her Colombian-born parents, a story that’s also the center of her new book.

“I came home from school one day when I was at the beginning of high school,” Guerrero said, “and then they were gone.”

Her parents, who were undocumented immigrants, had been taken to jail to await their deportation proceedings. Guerrero said they had been pursuing legal citizenship, but they were scammed by “unscrupulous lawyers.”

“Many undocumented immigrants go through that in our communities because they are afraid,” Guerrero explained. “They don’t go to the right people, so they end up giving their money to people who scam them, and that’s what happened to my parents.”

She said the government never checked up on her, even after her parents eventually got deported. Guerrero, who was born in New Jersey as an American citizen, stayed with friends through high school, until leaving for college.

“I wanted to come out with this story because I wanted to be considered part of this narrative,” Guerrero told Handler. “Immigration is part of this country’s fabric.”

Guerrero did not mention Trump by name like she did in a May interview with Vogue, but she did say, “Our immigration system is outdated and it needs repairing, and we need people who are going to push for this so we can eventually create a path to citizenship for people in this country.”

 

Despite the somber tone of the interview with Guerrero, the show didn’t shy away from immigration-related jokes and punchlines. For example, Craig Ferguson discussed his own immigration with Handler. The Scottish-born late night host, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008, said that when he took the civics test, there were two questions.

“‘Do you like gum?’ Do you hate Al-Qaeda?,’” he joked. “’You’re in!’”

And South African-born Charlize Theron, who became a U.S. citizen in 2007, administered a civics test similar to the actual one required for U.S. citizenship for Handler and her staff. Spoiler alert: They did not do well.

Handler herself has spoken out about Trump and his policies on her show and on social media in the past.

“It’s so important not to let this person [Trump] get elected and to elect the person that’s qualified for the job, and to make sure we don’t go backwards in history for minorities, for blacks, for Latinos, for women, for gays and lesbians,” she told Fusion at the Democratic National Convention in July. “For every minority that’s in this country, we have to move forward.”

The latest episode of Chelsea, “My Story Is an American Story,” featuring Diane Guerrero, Craig Ferguson, Charlize Theron, and Luke Cage star Mike Colter will stream Friday on Netflix.