Flight attendant and DACA recipient detained by ICE for over a month
Undocumented flight attendant Selene Saavedra Roman, a DACA recipient who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for over a month, has been released, according to her husband. Her release came after the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA sponsored a petition to urge the Department of Homeland Security to release her. She was detained by ICE upon returning to the U.S. from a flight from Mexico.
According to the travel site The Points Guy, Saavedra Roman had raised concerns with her employers about traveling outside of the country, given her immigration status. But Mesa Airlines, which operates regional flights for American Airlines and United Airlines, insisted that Saavedra Roman could legally travel outside of the country.
After the flight from Mexico on Feb. 12, Saavedra Roman was pulled aside by customs officials and then detained by ICE. According to the petition calling for her release, she had spent over a month in a detention center under "inhumane" and "prison" conditions.
Saavedra Roman, who emigrated from Peru when she was 3 years old, is married to a U.S. citizen and has no criminal history. The Points Guy reported that Saavedra Roman's DACA status is good until November 2019.
The petition received over 11,000 out of the 15,000 requested signatures.
"It is outrageous that she was detained and has been held for over a month with no end in sight," the petition says. It will be sent to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and ICE Acting Director Ronald D. Vitielloto.
Hillary Clinton also brought attention to Saavedra Roman's plight on Twitter, raising the flight attendant's national profile.
"This is an awful story: A DACA recipient in good standing was told by her airline she could work on a route to Mexico. Now she's in detention and ICE is threatening to revoke her status," Clinton wrote, urging her followers to sign the petition.
Saavedra Roman's husband, David Watkins, thanked the power of social media for raising awareness about her detention.
"She just called me with tears in her eyes and said, 'I'm out,'" Watkins said in an interview with The Points Guy. "When Selene called, I was like, 'Oh, my God. The power of social media."
Saavedra Roman will still be expected to attend a court hearing to determine whether she will be deported back to Peru in April.
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