The 30-year-old actress, known for playing inmate Maritza Ramos on the hit Netflix series, was separated from her brother and parents at the age of 14 when they were deported back to Colombia from their home in New Jersey.
She has been vocal about the issues of immigration and deportation since then, particularly since Donald Trump became President, and gave an eloquent interview to Lantern TV explaining her thoughts about what needs to change.
“There has always been separation of families and that’s what I experienced and it happens because we have an outdated immigration system and we have really yet to find a path for citizenship and the laws haven’t changed for a very long time – it’s desperately needed,” she said.
“Now we are just talking about it a lot more and it’s a lot more visible. I think something that’s different from when I experienced being separated from my family in 2001 is that now it’s very in your face and we have a president who ran his campaign solely on that and our country is very divided on the subject.”
Since Trump was inaugurated in January (17), he has introduced several laws that have caused an outcry worldwide, such as banning visitors from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering America.
The law was put on hold by a federal judge in February (17), just days after Trump signed the executive action and prompted a slew of protests across the country.
Of the current situation, Diane added: “I think right now what we are seeing is horrible. We have so much rhetoric surrounding this, yet no solutions. We have just falsities about who an immigrant is, who an undocumented person is and who a criminal is.”
When it comes to solutions, Diane is unsure about the answer but she urges everyone to educate themselves on immigration law.
“I think that one thing we can do right now… what I think would have really helped my family out and me at the time, is to be more educated,” she said. “We just need to stay on top of what’s going on in the news, what’s going on with the different laws they’re imposing – what they’re taking away, what they’re bringing in – know your constitutional rights.”