Real-life issues make their way into Orange Is the New Black season seven, and the storylines hit home for many people. One of the most prominent ones is immigration. More than one character we’ve known for seasons and seasons is faced with deportation. Maritza Ramos (Diane Guerrero), who did not appear in season six, became a main player in the first few episodes of the final season, and her story doesn’t end in smiles.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of Orange Is the New Black!
Since she wasn’t in the previous season, we don’t see exactly when she is released from prison. But we do see that she’s enjoying the nightlife, even though her probation is supposed to stop her from doing that. Maritza meets an NBA player based in Los Angeles who wants to bring her there. She doesn’t tell him about her past and how she can’t leave the state and opts not to go.
Maritza continues going out and is at a nightclub when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) swarms in. The officers demand to see everyone’s proof of citizenship, but Maritza said she left her identification at home. When the topic gets brought up later, we find out that she was able to get into the club without her ID because of the way she looks.
Maritza is taken to an immigration detention center and keeps saying that she is a citizen of the United States. For all she knows, that’s the truth, because that’s what her mother has always told her. When Marisol Gonzales (Jackie Cruz), better known as Flaca, gets work duty in the ICE kitchen, she’s briefly reunited with her best friend. Maritza asks Flaca to get in touch with her mom to get her birth certificate, since the phone card machine is broken, to prove that she’s a citizen. This is when we, and Maritza, find out that she’s not a citizen and her mom has been hiding that she was actually born in Colombia.
She calls up someone she knows who works in an attorney’s office to help get her out. Maritza even gives the number to other women being held so they have a chance, too. One day, Blanca Flores (Laura Gómez), who was picked up by ICE fresh out of her release, notices that Maritza is missing and figures it’s time for her hearing. But when a new girl takes her bed, Blanca’s fears become real.
At the end of episode five, we see a teary-eyed Maritza in chains walking towards a plane where she is seated among other immigrants in the same uniform. We don’t see Maritza for the rest of the season, so it’s safe to assume that she was taken back to Colombia, a place she doesn’t even remember ever being.
Sadly, this storyline is close to the heart for Guerrero. She shared her family’s immigration story in a 2016 memoir, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided. She adapted the story last year for children, My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope. While OTINB is a bunch of actors following a script, the storylines aren’t that far from reality.