San Diego

Undocumented College Student Released From Detention Center in San Diego

An undocumented college student arrested in southern California was released from an immigration detention center in San Diego Friday.

Outside the detention center, a band played Mexican-style ranchera and dance music for a small rally of supporters, according to the Associated Press.

Claudia Rueda, 22, will apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that shields immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, according to AP. She’s been in the country since she was six years old.

The woman was released while the U.S. government seeks to deport her, reported AP. A judge rejected arguments she should wear a monitoring device because she was arrested while protesting in support of undocumented immigrants.

After leaving the Otay Mesa detention facility, Rueda released a video.

“I was just released from ICE custody. I was there for over three weeks,” said Rueda.

On May 18, Rueda was detained by immigration authorities in LA. Her friends believe the arrest was retaliation by immigration authorities after Rueda led a vocal campaign to release her mother, Teresa Vidal, from custody.

Rueda does not have a criminal record and is an immigration activist, according to the AP. She was arrested twice during peaceful demonstrations to support people in the country illegally, but did not face charges.

Vidal is also undocumented and was detained in connection to a drug smuggling investigation.

“Claudia's mom was cleared of criminal involvement but she was taken into immigration custody solely because of an immigration violation,” said Monika Langarica, an immigration lawyer. “If we look to the immigration system which is not punitive, it's a much less forgiving one.”

When Rueda was detained, her friend Jessica Gonzalez says it was already a chaotic, stressful week for the students.

“They took her during the middle of finals. For any other student it’s already hectic,” said Jessica Gonzalez, a friend of Rueda.

Rueda plans on going back to Los Angeles. There’s still a possibility she could be deported later. Her case has sparked several protests in Southern California.

One resident in Chula Vista, Rick King, told NBC 7 that he is upset by undocumented immigrants who aren't making an effort to gain their documents legally.

“People who come over here and live here for years and never even try to get legal. That upsets me. I think they should be deported,” said King.

President Donald Trump’s administration has promised to crack down on illegal immigration. However, activists say immigration enforcement is nothing new.

“This was our reality even before Trump, with President Obama,” said Gonzalez.

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