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This evening, ahead of the release of 28-year old DACA recipient Selene Saavedra Roman, who was held in an immigration detention center for nearly two months, Selene’s husband and lawyer provided the latest updates on her case.
Selene, a flight attendant for Mesa Airlines, was told by her employer that she could work on a flight to Mexico and return safely, but upon arriving, ICE officials detained her despite her protected status and lack of a criminal record. Selene has a court appearance scheduled for April and may still be deported to Peru, a country she hasn’t seen since she was three years old.
Belinda Arroyo, Selene Saavedra Roman’s lawyer, said, “Selene was confirmed for a flight to Monterrey. She was there for an hour but was stopped by ICE & CBP when re-boarding the flight and was taken into custody at the Houston International Airport. Selene is set to be released from detention at 4:30 today, and we will continue to work on her case.”
David Watkins, Selene Saavedra Roman’s husband, said, “It has been extremely difficult. I was under the impression that because of her DACA status and being married to a US citizen that the parole wouldn’t have happened. The last month has been pretty exhaustingly tough. When I got the call today she was crying and said ‘Please come and get me they’re releasing me.'”
Damaris Gonzalez, DACA recipient and United We Dream organizer, said, “What happened to Selene is a nightmare for every undocumented person in this country to be detained while living our lives, to be seperated from our family, and put in a detention facility under inhumane conditions. What happened to Selene reminds us that our DACA protections are unstable as the Trump administration and his deportation agents attack us over and over again. As we continue our campaign for Selene’s freedom, we call on all Representatives to support the Dream and Promise Act in the House, which would give Selene and so many undocumeted youth a pathway to citizenship.”
Sara Nelson, President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, said, “”I often say ‘Solidarity is a force stronger than gravity,’ and that proved true today. Since we launched our petition less than 18 hours ago, tens of thousands of flight attendants, social justice activists, political leaders, airline executives and everyday Americans from all walks of life came together to speak in one voice and demand Selene’s release. Today, solidarity won. We are deeply grateful to everyone who lifted their voices and helped reunite Selene with her husband. We will continue fighting to ensure that she is protected from any future intimidation or harassment and allowed to return to her life as a flight attendant peacefully.
“This event highlights the urgency of commonsense immigration reform and resolution for America’s children who are part of DACA. Our country is strong through our diversity. We are stronger together and better together.”