“Dreamer” Immigrant Released From Louisiana Facility After Arrest In Jackson For Speaking On Immigration
Mar 17, 2017 01:33 PM EDT
Daniela Vargas, who was detained by U.S. immigration agents after she publicly criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, was released last week. The immigrant from Argentina was kept in a two-week detention.
"This is a day, at least it is a moment, for celebration in what has been a terrifying set of months for the immigrant community and their families," said Karen Tumlin, legal director at the National Immigration Law Center. Vargas came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 7 as an undocumented immigrant and was later granted with DACA status.
According to KTLA News, Vargas was detained shortly after speaking out at a press conference in Jackson, Mississippi, about the arrests of her father and brother by ICE agents, who violated a visa waiver program for immigrants when Vargas was 7. The 22-year-old youth qualified for a temporary reprieve from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but her DACA status expired in November.
"Ms. Vargas' continued detention and inability to contest her detention and removal violate her Fifth and First Amendment rights." President Donald Trump has identified DACA as an exception to sweeping new orders mandating aggressive enforcement of immigration laws. But new rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security make clear that no undocumented immigrants will be exempt from deportation proceedings, according to WAPT News.
ICE released a statement saying Vargas was arrested during one of its "targeted enforcement" operations. The statement says "DACA is not a protected legal status, but active DACA recipients are a lower level of enforcement priority."
Vargas was one of 70 women held in a Louisiana facility. She was barked and whistled at on arrival. Although Vargas took some time to gain courage, she later made friends with other immigrants, only to see them deported.