NKY woman detained by ICE released after a week in jail

Atty: NKY woman in ICE custody to be released
Posted at 12:01 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 23:52:03-04

FLORENCE, Ky. -- Finally free after a week of ICE detention, Riccy Enriquez Perdomo cried as she reunited with her family and friends Thursday evening.

She said she had only one thought during her time in federal custody: "I said, 'Please Lord, give me the chance to be with my son in his first year.' He's turning one Aug. 31, so I'm here and I thank him so much."

Family members and Enriquez's attorney, Charleston Wang, said ICE agents improperly detained the 22-year-old mother of two while she was in Louisville. 

Agents with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arrested Enriquez when she tried to bail out another person who was detained, according to her brother-in-law, Robert Cole. Over the ensuing week, she was shuffled between at least three different jails as ICE officials investigated her immigration status.

In a written statement, ICE officials said Enriquez "inaccurately stated that she was a lawful permanent resident." In fact, she is not -- but she isn't in the country illegally, either. Because Enriquez came to the United States as a 9-year-old, she received special protection under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. This protection must be renewed every two years, which Enriquez had done in January.

However, when officials researched her in Department of Homeland Security databases, that renewal didn't show up -- according to ICE's statement, all they saw was her DACA status's previously scheduled March 2017 expiration date. 

"What they're doing is illegal. She's under a protected status and you can't just go and pick up people just because," Cole said.

At least two other DACA recipients have been detained since President Trump took office. Like Enriquez, they were eventually released.

"How many of those (people protected under DACA) are in danger of coming in contact with police and them getting deported? It's great to have her back, but we have to say with the bigger picture, why did this happen in the first place?" Cole said.

Wang filed a petition for Habeas Corpus and Emergency Motion for Stay in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Kentucky.

"The arrest, detention and effort to remove (Enriquez) who has been granted DACA status violates Due Process, especially when she is not under a final order of removal in her own capacity," Wang said.

Wang called Enriquez's arrest "low-hanging fruit for removal."

Enriquez is married and is the mother of two children, both born in the U.S., according to court documents.