A 22-year-old undocumented immigrant, Daniela Vargas, who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Jackson, Mississippi, after she spoke at an immigration press conference, could be deported without a court hearing, one of her lawyers said on Thursday, (2 March).
Vargas was brought into the US by her parents from Argentina when she was seven years old. She was granted two-year protection under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in December 2012 and November 2014. Her Daca validity reportedly expired in November 2016 and she applied for renewal in February.
Vargas's attorney Abby Peterson said ICE agents told her on Thursday that they would deport her immediately without a court hearing or bond as Vargas came to the country through a visa waiver programme, which allows people from certain countries to enter the US without a visa.
According to the Huffington Post, people who enter the US through the visa waiver programme, have no rights to a court hearing or challenge their removal unless they are applying for asylum.
The attorney stated that the case's facts should be considered, along with the fact that she obtained Daca relief and applied for a renewal.
"She was 7 years old at the time she came to the U.S.. She didn't waive those rights, her parents waived those rights. And now she's an adult trying to assert her own rights," Peterson said.
In a statement released by her lawyer, Vargas said: "I don't understand why they don't want me. I'm doing the best I can. I mean I can't help that I was brought here but 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 5 hours."
The statement further read: "I feel, I strongly feel that I belong here and I strongly feel that I should be given a chance to be here and do something good and work in this economy."
Before she was arrested by ICE agents on Wednesday, she said she planned to move out of state with her mother to pursue her dream of being a Mathematics professor.