It’s been only a week since the last DREAMer, Edwin Santiago Romero, was taken into ICE custody. Although his case was promptly solved, it might not be the same for the fourth DREAMer who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on March 1.
Daniela Vargas spoke at an immigrant rights rally in Jackson, Mississippi on Wednesday morning. But after speaking at the news conference, she was pulled over by ICE and taken into custody, according to the Associated Press.
Vargas’ attorney Abby Peterson spoke with The Clarion-Ledger and stated that ICE officials told the Argentinian native:
“You know who we are. You know what we’re here for.”
At the rally, the 22-year-old shared her encounter with ICE two weeks prior, when her father and brother were detained in a raid at their home.
She told WAPT:
“My dad had just given me a kiss and said 'bye. I was asleep. Then I don’t know how much time later … my dad said, ‘Danny, immigration is here.’”
Vargas barricaded herself in a closet and refused to come out. When ICE officials reached her, she was temporarily handcuffed and then released when she told them she was a DREAMer. The college student arrived in the US when she was seven years old on a visitor’s visa.
After the raid, she was afraid to go home and decided to go into hiding, according to The Clarion-Ledger. But she decided to participate in the rally, partly organized by Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA), where 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 is very much my country.”
But this might not happen anymore. ICE targeted Vargas because her status as a DREAMer had expired, although she filed to renew it on February 10.
Despite explaining this to ICE, Vargas overstayed her visa, officials said, and will continue being detained. She may face deportation without a hearing.
ICE told Fusion:
“A federal immigration judge will now determine Ms. Vargas’s custody status as well as decide whether or not she is eligible for immigration relief. “
This case has once again raised concern among DREAMers.
Vargas’ attorney is still trying to understand how this happened after she was let go when her family was detained.
“Then two weeks later, she’s picked up randomly after being involved in a public event,” Peterson told BuzzFeed News. “Does that mean ICE is following people? Do people always have to be looking over their shoulder, losing sleep, and afraid to go outside their homes?”
Before the rally, Vargas had planned to move out of the state with her mother and continue pursuing her dream of becoming a university math professor. At the rally, she expressed her concerns about not achieving this:
"Now, I'm not so sure my dream will continue to develop. A path for citizenship is necessary for DACA recipients but also for the other 11 million undocumented people with dreams."