Deportation forces 16-year-old girl to drop out, support her family

PHOENIX - The Gang of Eight senators who have made it their task to create bipartisan immigration reform are expected to release their new plan as early as tomorrow.

The legislation could create a path of citizenship for at least 11 million people here in the U.S. illegally.

And one of those people who are hoping for the best when it comes to immigration reform is Jacqueline Garcia.

While she and her brother Luis were both born in the U.S, her grandparents, who raised her, are here illegally.

"They would always tell me: I don't have papers. I was like what does that even mean," said Garcia.

But as she got older, she understood that without legal documentation, her grandfather couldn't keep steady work.

"He always tried to support us. But it was always the light bill, it got cut off a few times. My grandpa would have to wait to get money to turn it on," said Garcia.

And even through those tough times Garcia didn't think things could get worse.

"In 2012, my grandmother had to go to the hospital. While she was in the hospital, my grandfather got arrested," said Garcia.

He was driving without a driver's license and that day changed her life.

"He didn't want to get deported because he knew we would suffer without him," said Garcia.

With the sole provider of her family forced back to Mexico, Garcia knew the livelihood of her family depended on her.

"As soon as I turned 16 I started to apply for jobs," said Garcia.

At 16, she dropped out of school--she's now working two jobs to pay the bills.

"I have a family I have to take care of now."

She's hoping her hard work pays off as she waits for Washington to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Part of the legislation would try to bring families like hers back together.

"I went through it and I don't want anyone else to go through it. It hurts and it's hard," said Garcia.

While it isn't guaranteed that she'll ever be able to see her grandfather again, she's hoping it will make a difference for the thousands of other families that share her story.

She believes if legislation isn't passed her family's situation could get worse. Her grandmother is sick and doctors believe she might not make it.

If her grandmother dies and her grandfather isn't allowed back into the U.S., she and her brother may be placed in the foster care system where they could be separated.

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