President Donald Trump’s latest immigration policies have made it clear that the risk of deportation is at an all-time high. Undocumented immigrants, with or without a criminal record, are the main target, but DREAMers haven’t been spared from the possibility either.
Most recently, there was a third DREAMer taken
in on Tuesday, February 21, and held overnight under a detainer issued by ICE.
Edwin Santiago Romero was pulled over Tuesday night by Richardson police in Dallas, Texas. Romero recalled being asked to step out of the car to talk, but was quickly put into handcuffs. The 25-year-old had a traffic warrant on him, which prompted the arrest.
3 am, Romero’s warrant was cleared by his friends who paid $1,050. Despite
this, the Mexican native had to stay in jail overnight because of ICE, who was
contacted after the jail found out Romero wasn’t a US citizen.
When ICE issued a detainer on Romero, which is a tool used to identify if a person is deportable, friends spread word of his arrest through social media. Attorneys from RAICES, a Texas nonprofit that helps detained immigrants, quickly began working on Romero’s case.
They were racing against time to have Romero released before he was turned in to ICE, who could have had him deported. RAICES attorneys acknowledged that in the past traffic violations didn’t prompt deportation, but president Trump has caused extreme changes.
also called the police station about Romero’s case and
there was a protest being organized, which later turned into a press conference.
The DREAMer, who attends the University of Texas at Dallas, was released Wednesday afternoon.
Romero was emotional recalling his thoughts while in jail. He said at a press conference:
"Being there and not knowing what's going to happen next is just a horrible feeling in itself. But [when] my friend told me, 'They haven't released you because there's an immigration hold,' I couldn't hold back my tears. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to think."
But Romero wasn’t only thinking about himself:
"I couldn't help but think about my mom, because my mom is the most important person in my life. And I knew that whenever she found out, she was going to be worried, and I was worried because my mom isn't in good health. ... She was my main worry at that point."
When he was released, Romero was surprised. He knew he had the support of his friends all throughout the dilemma.
“I knew they were going to fight for me but I didn’t expect the results to be so quick," he said. "I couldn’t believe it when they pretty much told me, ‘You are free to go.’ I didn’t ask any questions. I just walked out the door.”