Woman's immigration arrest in California draws criticism

11 March, 2018, 01:31 | Author: Brenda Erickson
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William Baker, her lawyer, told The Times that they'll ask for her to be released and reunited with her three USA citizen daughters while she fights the deportation case against her.

"Where is she going?" one of the girls, who all appear to be teens, sobs as the auto drives away with her mother. They also said that Luna had been arrested previously.

Perla Morales-Luna was detained on March 3 in a dramatic incident that was captured in a video posted to Facebook by teacher Judith Castro-Rangel that has since gone viral, according to the Los Angeles Times.

ICE had no comment on the arrest or the video, but did confirm the operation was carried out by the U.S. Border Patrol.

As officers tried to take her into custody last weekend, Morales-Luna "physically resisted while trying to abscond into a nearby vehicle", according to the statement.

As of Friday morning, an online federal data base showed no charges were filed against Morales-Luna in U.S. District Court.

Video of the woman being pulled from her daughters on March 3 in National City, a San Diego suburb, drew almost 10 million views on Facebook by Friday afternoon.

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In it, they allege Morales-Luna was "identified as a human smuggling facilitator who recruited drivers to transport illegal aliens from a remote border area in Eastern San Diego to a stash house in National City as part of a larger transnational criminal organization".

The arrest was described as "grotesque" by Benjamin Prado, coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee's San Diego US-Mexico Border Program.

She is now in Border Patrol custody awaiting transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal proceedings, according to her attorney. She referred questions about alleged smuggling activities to the Border Patrol, which did not immediately respond to a request for more details.

"They were looking for her", one source said.

"You have to be living under a rock or not thought about it at all to be shocked that they separate families".

The controversy over the videotaped arrest comes amid the Trump administration's efforts to ramp up deportations and crack down on immigration enforcement.

Her attorney says her "only" crime is being undocumented.

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