(AP/Charles Reed)

Undocumented immigrant detained after press conference will be deported without a hearing

Daniela Vargas' case does not look promising

Matthew Rozsa
March 3, 2017 8:07PM (UTC)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning on deporting an undocumented immigrant who spoke out against them to the media on Wednesday.

During her press conference, Vargas denounced how ICE had detained her family and the aggressive raids being committed by that organization due to President Donald Trump's harsher anti-immigrant policies.


Vargas' lawyer, Abby Peterson, described the move as one that "could be retaliation" because "they had been reading about her in the news, they had seen her at this press conference" and "they didn't want to hear it anymore." Peterson pointed to the fact that Vargas was apprehended immediately after her press conference, when ICE officials pulled over her car on a freeway and said, "You know who we are, you know what we're here for."

ICE claims that Vargas is now set to be imminently deported because she immigrated to this country through a visa waiver program, according to The Huffington Post. Foreign citizens who enter America through the visa waiver program are permitted to stay for no more than 90 days without a visa. Even though Vargas was only 7 years old at the time and is thus in theory the type of undocumented immigrant meant to be protected by the DREAM Act, ICE claims that her case doesn't apply her parents had her enter the country through a visa waiver. In addition, unless an immigrant who enters the United States with a visa waiver does so to seek asylum, they automatically concede their right to a hearing or contest. This means that ICE can and will pursue immediate deportation for Vargas.

"She was 7 years old at the time [she came to the U.S.]," Peterson told The Huffington Post. "She didn’t waive those rights, her parents waived those rights. And now she’s an adult trying to assert her own rights."

At Vargas' request, Peterson shared a message about her desire to contribute to her country.


"I don’t know anything else besides being here and I didn’t realize that until I was in a holding cell last night for five hours," Vargas told Peterson in a recording that has been made public. "I was brought here. I didn’t choose to be here. And when I was brought here, I had to learn a whole new country and leave behind the one that I did know. And I barely knew that one."

ICE's image has been less-than-stellar. Recently, they rounded up an undocumented immigrant with a brain tumor from a hospital, and have been accused of targeting domestic abusive victims and patients at hypothermia shelters.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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