She had successfully applied for Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status twice before she was detained earlier this month. As she was leaving, she and a friend were pulled over, and immigration authorities arrested Vargas. "They had been reading about her in the news, they had seen her at this press conference ..."
The 22-year-old immigration rights activist was arrested shortly after speaking at a press conference on March 1 about her father and brother, both of whom were arrested on February 15 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Her attorneys celebrated her release, but warned there will continue challenging the government's actions in the case. Vargas had been held at the La Salle Detention Facility in Louisiana since her arrest by ICE March 1.
Many, including her lawyers, feared that Vargas would be immediately deported. Peterson said that it was expected that Vargas would soon be returning home.
"She was very surprised this morning when this all happened, and very relieved", Peterson told reporters on a conference call.
Thomas Byrd, an ICE public affairs officer, could not comment specifically on Vargas' order of supervision, but did say orders of supervision rarely mean confinement or daily contact. ICE's assertion that her detention is "routine" is absurd and seems anything but.
Vargas, who was born in Argentina and brought to the United States by her parents when she was seven years old, is being detained at the LaSalle Detention Center in Louisiana. At a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, Vargas said a path to citizenship was "necessary for DACA recipients, but also for the other 11 million undocumented people with dreams". According to her lawyers she could not renew it on time due to financial constraints.
Vargas said agents entered her family's west Jackson home, unannounced and turned everything upside down.
"We expect Daniela to return to her friends and community in MS shortly to resume her daily life and pursue her dreams", the Elmore & Peterson Law Firm announced in a statement.
She said the events "sharpens the question".