Orange Is the New Black Wiki
Orange Is the New Black Wiki

Karla Diane Adilene Córdova is a former Salvadoran detainee at the PolyCon ICE Detainment Center. She is portrayed by Karina Arroyave


She is a loyal, stubborn, dedicated mother and is intelligent and persuasive.

Physical Description[]

She is short and thin, with thick, black, curly, long hair. She has a fringe which is swooped upwards.


Before Detainment[]

Karla was born in El Salvador. During the Salvadorian Civil War, Karla migrated to the USA and became employed at a law office before it closed down. At some point before or after her employment at the law office, Karla is known to have married and had two children. When her husband died, she began raising her children alone.

One day, her children were in the nurse's office in school crying when Karla had to come see them. She cheers them up saying they need to move on with their regular lives and that everyone dies but she isn't going to die for a long time ("God Bless America").

Season Seven[]

Like Blanca, Karla was detained at the ICE security camp.

During the first meeting with the judge at the court, her case was set over until she had time to find an attorney. Blanca copies her. She was furious at Blanca as she believed it was because of people like Blanca (illegal immigrants who committed a crime) that now ICE wanted to punish them all.

Karla is seen working on the computer on her case when Blanca comes over. Karla hides her book from Blanca until she snaps at Blanca, causing C. Litvack to come over. She informs him of her rights which cause the computers to be turned off by C. Litvack.

Blanca flatters Litvack which leads him to turn them back on. She invites over Karla. They start their new friendship.

At Court, Karla wants to file her application for relief under the Convention Against Torture Act. She states, filling the I-589 application, that she would be tortured in case she returns to El Salvador. She brings a newspaper article about the school she used to teach, El Aleph. The year she left El Salvador, 36 deaths occurred in the school. All of them were boys who refused to join criminal gangs; none of them had a way out. She also says that when she got pregnant, her husband and she knew they had to leave. The lawyer against her case states that gang violence is neither for CAT nor for asylum seekers. In response, she says that she has two children who are American citizens, and she cannot bring them to a country where their choice to live would be "kill or be killed", and if she brings her children back they will be forced to coerce into joining the gangs or they will suffer the consequences. In answer, the lawyer says the US is not deporting Karla's kids, but Karla herself. She states she will not leave them: their father passed away the previous year and she is all they have now. As Karla lost the custody of her children since she is detained at ICE facility, they are already placed in pre-adoptive foster care. The judge states she failed to make a case for herself and the application does not even make a prima facie case for relief under the CAT, as her children will remain safe in the United States. She denies Karla's case and issues a written order of removal.

Karla later tells Blanca to change her strategy: Blanca has to say she wants a stay of removal to fight her conviction in criminal court. 

Later, they go back to ICE camp where Karla tells Gloria she is to be deported soon. Karla asks Gloria a favor: to lend her her cell phone in order to call her children for the last time.

Gloria reluctantly allows Karla to call her kids. Karla tells them that she will be back as soon as she can, and that she will never stop trying to get them back. They begin to cry. She thanks Gloria.

"Mijo! I'm working really hard on getting back to you, okay? I'm going to have to be away for a little while, but I'm coming back. (But when?) I don't know yet, but soon. You have to know that no matter what happens, no matter what anyone tells you, I will not stop until we're together again. (Will you be here for my birthday?) If I'm not, it just means that I'm still on my way, okay? But it might take me a little while. So, until then, you two need to take care for each other. Remind each other to drink water and zip up your jackets. And you know how when you were little and you'd get real angry or sad, we used to talk about using your words. Well, you're gonna have to do that. You're gonna have to tell people what you need. If there's something you don't understand or if... something hurts... [sniffles] or if someone hurts you... you're gonna need to speak up for yourselves, and for each other, because I won't be there to do it for you. [sniffles] I love you both more than anything. Never forget how much I love you."
— Karla to her children

Later, she is deported back to El Salvador.

In El Salvador, she is hiking with a group led by a "coyote" that is taking them back to the US, when she falls off the trail and appears to break her leg or ankle; she can no longer walk. The leader of the hike carries her for a while, but abandons her with a jug of water next to a shade-providing bush after he states he needs to take the rest of the group to the US. She pleads as he walks away, with him saying he'll try to come back if he can. She tries to get up, but can't, beginning to cry.

It’s been confirmed by the writers and producers that Karla was found by hikers and illegally reunited with her children in the US. In an alternate script, she was supposed to be shown to have been saved in the series finale. Though, it didn’t make the final cut since what was shown is an example of the reality in many deported immigrants situations.



  • Unnamed Husband†
  • Abel (son)
  • Benji (son)


  • Unnamed Husband†



  • C. Litvack


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Last seen in Minimum Security Irma Lerman  •  Annie Valdez  •  Loretta Fisher
Released inmates Piper Chapman  •  Stella Carlin  •  Mercy Valduto  •  Sara Rice  •  Linda Ferguson  •  Sophia Burset  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Jimmy Cavanaugh  •  Judy King  •  George Mendez  •  Cesar Velazquez  •  Cindy Hayes  •  Gloria Mendoza  •  Blanca Flores
Deceased inmates Poussey Washington  •  Yvonne Parker  •  Tricia Miller  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Carol Denning  •  Barbara Denning  •  Rosa Cisneros  •  Dominga Duarte  •  Tiffany Doggett
Deported inmates Maritza Ramos  •  Karla Córdova  •  Shani Abboud  •  Swapna Majumdar  •  Dario Zuniga
ICE inmates Santos Chaj  •  Mei Chang  •  Efua Onagbeboma