When Figueroa was 9, her parents were arrested in a raid while working at a car wash in Phoenix. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began deportation proceedings for both soon after. Both Carlos and Sandra spent months in jail.
Kathy’s fight to stop the deportation of her parents led to the focus of a feature-length documentary film titled Two Americans, helmed by filmmakers Valeria Fernandez and Daniel DeVivo. In the film, the teen is seen speaking in Congress and asking President Barack Obama to notice her story.
Delia Salvatierra, the Figueroa’s attorney, said a civil rights suit filed by the Department of Justice helped push ICE to allow both Carlos and Sandra to stay in the U.S.