Diane Guerrero can tell the stories that no one else is. As Maritza Ramos on Orange Is the New Black, she is a hard-as-nails Latina prison gang princess, and on the CW’s Jane the Virgin, she’s Jane’s flirty, hilarious friend. But according to Deadline, Guerrero is going to take on a subject that hits close to home.
Deadline reported yesterday that Guerrero has been cast as the star in a new CBS drama In the Country We Love, a show based on her eponymous memoir about her life as the daughter of undocumented immigrants, who had to grow up a little too fast when they were abruptly deported.
“I came home from school one day when I was at the beginning of high school,” Guerrero told Chelsea Handler on her Netflix show in September, “and then they were gone.”
It’s a harrowing story that Guerrero first detailed in her memoir, which the actress wrote with the help of co-author Michelle Burford. In the book, she talks about how her parents came of age during an incredibly violent period of Colombia’s history, fled to the United States on temporary visas, and then stayed in the country after those visas expired. Guerrero was their only child, and the family kept private to avoid detection.
Only after her parents tried to obtain citizenship were they caught. Guerrero stayed in the United States, dependent on the hospitality of friends. She finished her high school degree, got into college, and found a space for herself in acting. The government never checked in on her. She was left alone.
In May she told Vogue, “Now at least people are listening. They’re willing to address the issues [around immigration]. That’s the important part. So no, when I hear people like [Donald Trump], I don’t get discouraged; I get motivated.”
In the Country We Love, the television show, will tell the story of a successful corporate attorney—once the child of deported immigrants—who begins taking on pro bono cases for undocumented immigrants.
In the prologue of her memoir, Guerrero writes that this was the kind of book she wanted and needed as a child. We have to imagine she feels the same way about this television show.