Friday, March 3, 2017

I Was a Stranger, Day 3: Daniela Vargas

This is Daniela Vargas, age 22. On Wednesday, she spoke at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, on behalf of immigrant rights. She arrived in the U.S. from Argentina when she was seven years old. After the family's visitor visa expired, they stayed on. Vargas is a "Dreamer." She has received that protection twice and just recently applied again (after coming up with the $495 fee). She is a student at the University of Southern Mississippi, hoping to be a math professor.

Vargas' brother and father were detained outside their home by ICE in February. She hid in a closet but was discovered by ICE agents, who handcuffed her and then released her because of her pending DACA application.

After she left the news conference, two ICE agents pulled her car over and arrested her, saying, “you know who we are and you know why we’re here,” according to the friend who was with her. Then they handcuffed her and took her into custody. ICE spokesperson, Thomas Byrd, said that Vargas was taken into custody in a “targeted immigration enforcement action” after the agency verified her DACA status had lapsed.

Daniela Vargas is our stranger for the day. Please take one minute out of your day to listen to her:

At Thanksgiving, Americans celebrate the welcome they presumably received from Native Americans. This is a bedrock of our country's principles. Do not mistreat or oppress foreigners, for we are all foreigners somewhere.

Read more of my "I Was a Stranger" entries here.

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