Surprise! Illegal alien detained after holding news conference
An illegal alien who held a press conference to complain about immigration enforcement under the Trump administration was subsequently taken into custody by ICE agents during a "targeted enforcement action."
There was an immediate outcry from immigrant rights groups to protest the detention of Daniela Vargas, who came to the U.S. with her parents when she was seven years old. Vargas had been granted residency under the Obama administration DREAM program but failed to pay the renewal fee and was thus subject to detention and deportation.
Daniela Vargas, who came to the U.S. from Argentina when she was 7 years old, was detained by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as she and a friend drove away from the news conference in Jackson, Miss., said her lawyer, Abigail Peterson.
The news conference was organized by attorneys, church groups and the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance to bring attention to recent immigration raids in the region, said Patricia Ice, an attorney with the immigrant-rights group.
ICE enforcement actions under the Trump administration have stoked fears in immigrant communities after large numbers of coordinated arrests across the country in recent weeks.
Agency officials have said they are targeting undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes including assault, murder and drug trafficking. But the agency also acknowledged picking up some immigrants they encountered during those raids who have violated federal immigration law, but not committed other crimes.
Ms. Vargas's father and brother were detained by immigration officials who arrested them outside the family home last month. But Ms. Vargas herself wasn't arrested at the time, her lawyer said.
Thomas Byrd, a spokesman for ICE, said in a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal by Ms. Vargas's attorney that Ms. Vargas was taken into custody "during a targeted immigration enforcement action." The statement said ICE conducts "routine targeted enforcement operations" every day and "does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately."
ICE officials declined to comment.
Ms. Peterson said she had been working with Ms. Vargas on reapplying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a program that protects young undocumented adults brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation and gives them work authorization.
Since DACA was introduced in 2012, about 750,000 people have benefited from the program. President Donald Trump during his campaign said he would rescind the program, but has since said he would seek a more favorable solution for its beneficiaries, who are known as "Dreamers."
The case of another detained DACA recipient is being watched closely as an early test of how the Trump administration will treat program beneficiaries.
My guess is that Ms. Vargas's press conference may be one of the last of its kind for a while.
It's one thing to live your life unobtrusively as an illegal alien in the U.S. It's quite another to spit in the face of immigration enforcement officials by openly defying the law by holding a press conference and bragging about your status.
This kind of routine enforcement of our immigration laws is exactly the way it should be. If you're identified as an illegal for any reason, you should be detained. Ms. Vargas will have the right to plead her case before an immigration judge. That, too, is the way it should be. The law will be upheld, and justice will be done – just as it should be.
Wouldn't it be interesting if ICE paid a visit to the studios of Univision? How many illegals would be found working for the #1 promoter of illegal alien rights in the U.S.? The outrage at this violation of "First Amendment rights" would be entertaining, to say the least, given the impunity with which illegals make use of the Univision platform to publicize their views.
If Vargas is deported, she has a perfect right to try to re-enter the U.S. – legally, of course. Why that would prove to be a burden to anyone who wants to live and work in the U.S. is a mystery.