Immigration Law

ICE arrests immigrant after she speaks at press conference

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Immigration agents arrested an immigrant who had not yet renewed her status as a “dreamer” shortly after she spoke at a press conference about her fears of deportation.

Daniela Vargas, 22, was arrested in Mississippi on Wednesday, report the Clarion-Ledger, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post. Her lawyer, Abby Peterson, said Vargas was detained while a friend drove her from the news conference.

Vargas spoke at the press conference about hiding in the closet of her home in February as agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested her father and brother. At that time, agents found and temporarily handcuffed her but decided to release her.

Vargas came to the United States from Argentina with her family on a three-month visa at age 7 and was allowed to work in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Her latest two-year DACA protection had expired, but her renewal application is pending. Vargas was late in filing the application for renewal because of the $495 application fee, according to Peterson.

The news conference was intended to call attention to families affected by deportation. Immigration lawyers, churches and the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance sponsored the conference.

ICE said in a statement that Vargas was arrested on Wednesday in a “targeted immigration enforcement action.” An ICE official told the Huffington Post that Vargas wasn’t arrested in February because she said she was protected by DACA. Agents have since learned she is no longer protected, the official said.

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