Woman Detained After Speaking About Deportation Fears Is Released

A 22-year-old undocumented immigrant who was detained by the authorities last week after speaking out about her deportation fears was released on Friday, her lawyers and rights groups said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said that the woman, Daniela Vargas, would be freed under an order of supervision, although it did not disclose the terms of the order, according to a statement from the Elmore and Peterson law firm, which is representing Ms. Vargas. The officials, the statement said, also did not disclose why her release from a detention center in Jena, La., was being ordered now.

“We expect Daniela to return to her friends and community in Mississippi shortly to resume her daily life,” the firm’s statement said. “Court filings regarding the reason and manner of arrest and detention continue to be pursued in an effort to secure Daniela’s rights.”




An I.C.E. spokesman, Thomas Byrd, confirmed in a telephone interview on Friday that Ms. Vargas had been released. He declined to provide further details about her specific case.

He said the terms of an order of supervision can include a requirement to check in periodically with an immigration officer. Other terms include a requirement to obtain travel documents, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

On Tuesday, civil and immigrants rights groups announced that they had filed a petition in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana to stop Ms. Vargas’s deportation. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, the Elmore and Peterson firm in Mississippi, and the law office of William Most said in the petition that the government had violated her due process and First Amendment rights.

“We’re joining the community in celebrating the release of our client, Dany Vargas,” said Naomi Tsu, the deputy director of the S.P.L.C., in a statement.

“But, we will continue to challenge the unconstitutional actions of I.C.E. agents in this case and will not rest until she is no longer under threat of deportation.”

Ms. Vargas’s lawyer, Abigail Peterson, was not immediately available for further comment on Friday. She said in an interview last week that Ms. Vargas had been picked up on March 1 when the car she was riding in was pulled over by officers shortly after leaving a news conference at which she had spoken at City Hall in Jackson, Miss.

A sticky note in support of Daniela Vargas is shown on a lawmaker's office door in Jackson, Miss., Friday,© Rogelio V. Solis A sticky note in support of Daniela Vargas is shown on a lawmaker’s office door in Jackson, Miss., Friday,The event was organized by lawyers, church leaders and the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance to raise awareness about the impact deportation and President Trump’s immigration policies have on families.

Ms. Vargas was sent to the detention center in Jena and was held without bond. She was told she would be deported without a hearing, Ms. Peterson said.

Ms. Vargas entered the United States from Argentina at the age of 7 under a visa waiver program, which meant that she and her family were allowed to stay for only 90 days. By staying longer, they became ineligible for an immigration hearing, L. Patricia Ice, the M.I.R.A. legal project director, said last week.

But under a program started by former President Obama in 2012, Ms. Vargas became one of hundreds of thousands of people allowed to stay in the United States through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program gave immigrant children who had mostly grown up in America the opportunity to become eligible for work permits and to stay temporarily.




Ms. Vargas’s DACA status had expired while she was saving up to pay a renewal fee of about $495, her lawyer said. Ms. Vargas had two pending applications to renew her DACA status and her work permit when she was arrested.

Ms. Peterson released a transcript of a recorded conversation with Ms. Vargas on March 2, in which the woman said, according to the Huffington Post:

“You know, there’s a lot of stuff that I can do for this country that they’re not allowing me to do. I’ve even tried to join the military, and I can’t do that. But, I mean that’s not the point, the whole point is that I would do anything for this country.”

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