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Video of woman's immigration arrest sparks outcry, response from Border Patrol

Immigration arrest
Video of woman's immigration arrest sparks outcry 01:33

SAN DIEGO -- Video of a woman being pulled away from her weeping daughters on a California street and shoved into a U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle is drawing criticism of the manner in which federal agents are enforcing immigration laws. The incident occurred March 3 in National City, a community south of San Diego.

The video of the woman being apprehended by Customs and Border Protection agents in National City near San Diego was posted to Facebook Thursday morning, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Judith Castro-Gonzalez, a teaching aide, posted the video with a message in English and Spanish that read, "!Please share! It breaks my heart to know that this is the mother of one of my students[…] The brutalized, injustice that is happening in this country is sad  my people, this battle continues and we should not give up. I will be aware of the development of this case."

Perla Morales-Luna, 36, came to the U.S. illegally at the age of 15, CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas reports.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that Morales-Luna is an organizer for a human smuggling operation, but her attorney, Andres Moreno, said her only crime is being undocumented.

"We don't see any criminal charges ever filed against her in any capacity so we're at a bit of a loss as to why they're allegedly the alien smuggling issue," Moreno said.

CBS News contacted three federal agencies Friday. None of them said whether criminal charges would be filed, but because Morales-Luna is in the country illegally -- which is a crime -- the U.S. does not have to disclose a reason why or if they deport her.

The arrest was described as "grotesque" by Benjamin Prado, coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee's San Diego U.S.-Mexico Border Program. Prado tells the Los Angeles Times that he's concerned about the "terror" the woman's daughters suffered.

An attorney for Morales-Luna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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