Dreamer to be deported without court hearing

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(photo: Imani Khayyam / Jackson Free Press)

Daniela Vargas, an aspiring math teacher, was detained after speaking an immigrants’ rights event, as ICE calls arrest “targeted immigration enforcement.”

By Matt Kessler / The Guardian
December 3, 2017


“I don’t understand why they don’t want me. I’m doing the best I can. I mean, I can’t help that I was brought here but I don’t know anything else besides being here and I didn’t realize that until I was in a holding cell last night for five hours. I was brought here. I didn’t choose to be here. And when I was brought here, I had to learn a whole new country and leave behind the one that I did know.”


A 22-year-old who was detained as she was leaving a press conference on immigrants’ rights Wednesday will not get a court hearing before she is deported, her lawyers said.

Daniela Vargas was in the process of renewing her application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama administration program that temporarily protects from deportation undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. Vargas was an aspiring math teacher who went to college while under the program. And Bill Chandler, an immigrants’ advocate who knew Vargas well, said she had a receipt showing that her application was being processed.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement on Wednesday that the action was part of “targeted immigration enforcement.” On Thursday, the lawyer Nathan Elmore said ICE had indicated it would pursue immediate deportation against Vargas without allowing her to first have a court hearing. Vargas’s lawyers have filed a petition challenging ICE’s decision.

“ICE is supposed to target undocumented immigrants who commit crimes,” said Elmore. “Convicted criminals. Daniela doesn’t fit into any of these categories. Is this where you want your tax dollars directed?”

In a statement released by her lawyers, Vargas said: “I don’t understand why they don’t want me. I’m doing the best I can. I mean, I can’t help that I was brought here but I don’t know anything else besides being here and I didn’t realize that until I was in a holding cell last night for five hours. I was brought here. I didn’t choose to be here. And when I was brought here, I had to learn a whole new country and leave behind the one that I did know.”

Chandler, the executive director of Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, said ICE agents had attended his organization’s immigration advocacy events before to locate potential undocumented immigrants. “One of the things that has happened, with the phenomenon of Trump becoming president, is that ICE agents . . . they’re just going after everybody that they can get their hands on.”

[Read the full article here . . . ]

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