'Dreamer' Targeted For Deportation For Speaking Out On Immigration, Attorneys Say

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Attorneys for a young “Dreamer” facing deportation claim in a federal petition that immigration officers violated her right to freedom of speech, arguing she was targeted by authorities because she spoke out at a news conference about her hopes for immigration reform and the effect of enforcement raids on her family.

The allegation of retaliation is contained in a petition filed in federal court by a coalition of immigration and civil rights attorneys trying to stop the deportation of Daniela Vargas, who was detained by immigration agents in Mississippi minutes after she spoke at the news conference.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center joined Vargas’ immigration attorneys to file a habeas petition late Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Claiming U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement violated Vargas’ 5th Amendment due process rights to a hearing before an immigration judge and her 1st Amendment right to be free from unconstitutional retaliation for protected speech, the petition seeks her immediate release, as well as a court hearing to challenge the decision to deport her.

“She was targeted for speaking out against the ICE enforcement actions in the Jackson area and for going public with her story,” said Michelle Lapointe, a senior staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We want to send a message to ICE that they cannot behave in this manner that targets people for exercising their 1st Amendment rights.”

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Source : http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-mississippi-dreamer-vargas-20170307-story.html

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