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Immigrant Arrested After Speaking To Media

A 22-year-old immigrant was detained by authorities March 1 after speaking at a press conference.

Daniela Vargas, who arrived in the U.S. as a child and therefore had protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, will be taken to a detention center in Louisiana, according to the Huffington Post.

Vargas was not detained in February when other members of her family were taken into custody. Her DACA authorization had expired, but she sent her DACA renewal application on Feb. 10, five days prior to the raid in which her father and brother were arrested.

Daniela came to the U.S. when she was 7. Her father, Daniel, and brother, Alan, both worked while Daniela had been attending university.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told the Clarion Ledger that the Feb. 15 raid was "routine enforcement."

"Every day, as part of routine targeted enforcement operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Fugitive Operations teams arrest criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation's immigration laws," Thomas Byrd told the Clarion Ledger. "ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately."

Abby Peterson, Vargas' attorney, expressed doubts about the motivation behind her client's arrest.

"It could be retaliation," Peterson told the Post. "They had been reading about her in the news, they had seen her at this press conference. [Maybe] they didn't want to hear it anymore. Maybe I'm mistaken on that, but common sense would certainly imply that's what happened."

ICE has refused to comment on Daniela's detention.

Although President Donald Trump has stated his support for the DACA program, immigration advocates say that ICE officers are not always accepting a person's DACA status.

"It's like a roll of the dice," said Gregory Chen, advocacy director with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "If the officer who picks you up along with other family members thinks, 'You're an okay kid, we're going to let you go,' maybe you're okay. But if somebody sees it a different way, you could be subject to enforcement."

Vargas had spoken to the Post via email prior to her detention. She said that she felt like she was being watched and was trying not to remain in the same place for too long.

"We weren't here doing any harm," Vargas told the Post. "We were just going to work and going to school. I feel like I belong here. I feel like I am an American."

Sources: Huffington Post, The Clarion-Ledger / Photo credit: The Clarion-Ledger

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