ICE Finally Releases DACA Recipient Who Was Detained While Working As A Flight Attendant


A flight attendant and legal U.S. resident who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials upon returning to Houston after working a round-trip flight to Mexico has finally been released following weeks spent in a detention facility, according to a report by HuffPost.

The flight attendant, Selene Saavedra Roman, had been assured by her employers at Mesa Airlines that her status as a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections meant there wouldn’t be an issue upon returning through U.S. customs. But despite Saavedra’s legal residency in the U.S., the fact that she’s been living in Texas since she was a toddler, and being married to a U.S. citizen, ICE still saw fit to detain her on February 12 when she returned on a round-trip flight from Houston to Mexico.

She was just released Friday afternoon. Roman was granted parole to return home to her husband in College Station, Texas, following an uproar by numerous public figures — including Hillary Clinton — who pointed to her case as an egregious example of the defects inherent in President Donald Trump’s immigration policy.

Saavedra’s husband, David Watkins, said he immediately knew that the couple was not facing an easy road from the moment he received a phone call from his wife in February from the detention facility in Conroe, Texas telling him what happened.

“I dropped the phone and I screamed into the sky, because I knew this was going to be long and wasn’t going to be an easy path whatsoever,” he said.

The flight attendants union Saavedra belongs to, as well as her employer Mesa Airlines, publicly called for her release, after having assured her that with her DACA status, she would have no trouble crossing the border.

Airplane wing in flight.
Featured image credit: Josh SorensonPexels

But since the Trump administration’s efforts to end DACA have been held up in the courts, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has not been issuing new paperwork to people like Saavedra, who need to leave and re-enter the country for work purposes.

Saavedra, a graduate of Texas A&M who has a social security number and no criminal record, was said to be facing “deteriorating” emotional and mental well-being in the detention facility, where she was only allowed weekly visits with her husband through thick plexiglass and access to the outdoors a few times a week.

She is awaiting an appearance before a judge on April 4 to face possible deportation.