Update, March 10, 2017: Daniela Vargas, the 22-year-old DREAMer who made headlines when she was arrested after giving a press conference, is set to be released from custody, The Clarion Ledger reports.
Her attorney Abby Peterson told The Clarion Ledger that Vargas, who was being held at the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, LA, will be set free on Friday under an Order of Supervision.
"We expect Daniela to return to her friends and community in Mississippi shortly to resume her daily life and pursue her dreams," Peterson said in a statement. "Court filings regarding the reason and manner of arrest and detention continue to be pursued in an effort to secure Daniela’s rights. We maintain our commitment to the rights of all persons in the US, regardless of immigration status. We appreciate the ongoing support and work of the Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, and the many others who have come out in support of Daniela."
Update, March 2, 2017: Daniela Vargas, the 22-year-old DREAMer who was arrested after giving a press conference in Jackson, MI, is set to be deported without a court hearing, her attorney Abby Peterson told The Huffington Post.
According to Peterson, immigration officials told her on Thursday that Vargas would be immediately deported without a court hearing or bond because she is being processed for overstaying her visa. Vargas arrived in the U.S. when she was only 7 years old.
Peterson said that Vargas' family came through the visa waiver program. (At the time, the program was available to Argentinian citizens.) Waiving their visa also meant surrendering some of their rights, which could have protected Vargas today.
This story was originally published on March 2, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.
This time, a 22-year-old DREAMer was arrested just after she gave a press conference in which she talked about her fear of deportation and advocated for the rights of undocumented immigrants, The Guardian reports.
On Wednesday, Daniela Vargas — an undocumented immigrant who moved to the U.S. from Cordoba, Argentina, at the age of 7 — was detained in Jackson, MI.
Nathan Elmore, her immigration lawyer, told The Guardian that after the press conference Vargas was pulled over and apprehended by ICE officials on the interstate. She was with a friend at the time.
Vargas used to be protected under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program, the initiative also known as DACA, which was instituted by former president Barack Obama. The two-year work permit exempts young undocumented immigrants from deportation and provides them with a Social Security number.
Elmore said that Vargas' permit had recently expired, but her renewal application was currently under review.
"She is not a danger to society. She is a good person who can contribute and she’s the sort of person that the DACA legislation envisaged. It was correct for her to be under there, and we hope she can get under that statute again," Elmore told The Guardian. "But first we have to get her out of jail."
The Department of Homeland Security has said DACA recipients and people without a previous criminal record are not a priority for deportation. It's unclear, then, why Vargas, who has no criminal record, was apprehended.
Local media reported that Vargas' father and brother were arrested by ICE officials in mid-February. She was also detained, but was eventually let go of by immigration officials.
"During that time, I couldn’t even breathe, honestly,” Vargas told the Clarion Ledger at the time. “I just watched them handcuff my dad and take them. I was scared for my life. I didn’t know. I didn’t know anything. I called my mom and I just let out a cry. I didn’t even get to see my brother leave; I think that was the harshest thing for me.”
ICE confirmed to The Guardian that Vargas is currently detained, saying she was arrested by immigration officials during a “targeted immigration enforcement action.” The spokesman also described Vargas to The Guardian as an “unlawfully present Argentinian citizen."
However, Vargas is not the first DREAMer that has been arrested since President Trump took office in January and signed an executive action expanding ICE, and broadening the meaning of "criminal alien."
Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old DREAMer living in Seattle, WA, was detained in February despite having his DACA permit. ICE claimed that Ramirez Medina was affiliated with a gang, but he passed the DACA background checks twice, and his lawyers say those allegations are untrue.
Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles, a 22 year-old DACA recipient, was also arrested last month when he was driving in the company of a 17-year-old boy about a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border. At the time, officials said he was arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle someone illegally into the U.S. It's unclear whether there's any truth to that.
During her press conference, Vargas asked for a comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the U.S.
"The path to citizenship is necessary for DACA recipients but also for the other 11 million undocumented people with dreams," she said. "Today, my father and brother await deportation, while I continue to fight this battle as a DREAMer to help contribute to this country, which I feel that is very much my country."