The Bubble reported yesterday that Daniela Vargas — a 22 year-old Argentine who was brought to US by her family at the age of seven — had been arrested by immigration authorities shortly after speaking at a pro-immigration press conference in Mississippi. Because her parents did not file for legal status as they entered the country both she and her family members feared being deported. In her case though, she had previously been protected from deportation under Obama’s Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but her permit expired in November and her application for renewal is still pending.
At present, Daniela is being held in custody in Louisiana. She had been hoping to be given the right to a bond hearing, after which a federal immigration judge would decide her fate. Today, however, her future seems even less certain.
Her Attorney Abigail Peterson, said she was contacted today by ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), to say that Vargas would not be given a hearing before a judge, and would be deported from the US at the earliest possible date, which could be a matter of weeks.
However, Peterson also stressed that this goes against what ICE said yesterday, which was that Vargas has the right to present her case before an immigration judge.
ICE has refused to comment on the case.
There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the case. Peterson stated that it was “very unusual” for someone with a pending DACA application to be detained, however Vargas’ case seems to be the latest in a trend of arrests involving recipients of the program since Trump’s inauguration.
It remains unclear exactly how the courts will deal with Daniela’s case. Her status as a DACA recipient could be ignored, classifying her instead as someone who simply stayed in the country after her visa had expired (as she only filed for the renewal in February after her permit expired in November). If it is handled as a “visa waiver overstay”, she will not be entitled to a hearing and will face immediate deportation to Argentina.
Furthermore, the future of the DACA program itself is up in the air. During his campaign, Trump’s website made explicit his plans to “immediately terminate” the program, the BBC noted. However, he seems to have had a change of heart recently, and even said that DACA recipients will not be affected by the cracking down on undocumented immigrants that the US Department of Homeland Security announced last week.