A Mesa Airlines flight attendant, who as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient is barred from traveling outside the United States under the Trump administration's rules, was released from immigration detention Friday after being taken into custody when she returned to the U.S. on a flight from Mexico that she had worked.
Selene Saavedra Roman, 28, who works for the regional airline based in Phoenix, walked out of the immigration facility Friday evening dragging her Mesa-issued flight bags, according to a representative for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA who went to meet her and her attorney. She had been held for more than a month.
"Being released is an incredible feeling. I cried and hugged my husband and never wanted to let go," Saavedra Roman said in a statement sent by her attorney Belinda Arroyo to NBC News. "I am thankful and grateful for the amazing people that came to fight for me, and it fills my heart. Thank you everyone that has supported. I am just so happy to have my freedom back."
President Trump is reportedly considering an immigration plan that could block thousands of Central American migrants seeking asylum from entering the U.S. at the southern border.
Administration officials and advocates briefed on the plan told Politico the draft proposal, which is circulating among Trump’s homeland security advisers, would bar migrants from seeking asylum if they had passed through a nation other than their home country before arriving to the U.S. The plan would make thousands of Central American migrants at the border who have trekked through Mexico ineligible for asylum.
Trump appeared to allude to the plan Thursday morning when he was departing the White House, saying he was “going to do something very dramatic on the border.”
He said it would be his “biggest statement” on the border, adding he would not shutter the border but speak on the people crossing into the U.S. “This is a big league statement,” Trump said. “I'm not closing the border, I'm doing something else.”
The Trump Administration has opted to use an Army base in Oklahoma to hold growing numbers of immigrant children in its custody after running out of room at government shelters.
Fort Sill, an 150-year-old installation once used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, has been selected to detain 1,400 children until they can be given to an adult relative, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The agency said Fort Sill will be used “as a temporary emergency influx shelter” to help ease the burden on the government as it prepares to house a record number of minors even though it already operates about 168 facilities and programs in 23 states.
Health and Human Services said in a statement that it has taken about 40,900 children into custody through April 30. That’s a 57% increase from last year, which is a rate on-pace to surpass the record figures in 2016, when 59,171 minors were taken into custody. The agency had assessed two other military bases before selecting Fort Sill.
Trump to sign order giving ‘road to citizenship’ to DACA recipients
President Trump on Friday pledged to sign an executive order creating a “road to citizenship” for “Dreamer” immigrants — although a press secretary later backpedaled on the plan and some experts say he’s not authorized to do so.
Trump told Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart that the order would lead to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
“One of the aspects of the [order] is going to be DACA. We are going to have a road to citizenship,” Trump said.
But immigration experts and his fellow Republicans said Trump would have to go through Congress for such a sweeping immigration policy.
“There is ZERO constitutional authority for a President to create a ‘road to citizenship’ by executive fiat,” tweeted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“It was unconstitutional when Obama issued executive amnesty, and it would be a HUGE mistake if Trump tries to illegally expand amnesty.”
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere later released a statement saying “As the President announced today, he is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system to further protect U.S. workers.”
The statement, added, “Furthermore, the President has long said he is willing to work with Congress on a negotiated legislative solution to DACA, one that could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that creates an advisory commission tasked with improving Hispanic Americans' access to economic and educational opportunities, a push that comes as the president hopes to win a bigger share of the Latino vote than he did four years ago.
The commission has broad marching orders to foster school choice efforts and promote public-private partnerships in Hispanic-American communities.
"You are a treasure," Trump told a friendly crowd of current and former Hispanic elected officials, business leaders and others who were on hand for the Rose Garden signing of the order. "The Hispanic Americans and the Hispanic American community is a treasure."
Trump is walking a tightrope in his attempt to court Latino voters ahead of the November election while also courting his base supporters by underscoring his administration's efforts to stem illegal immigration on the southern border.
In recent days, Trump has showcased progress his administration has made in building more wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and vowed to renew his effort to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children. The Supreme Court last month ruled that the administration improperly ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2017.
But at the same time, White House officials and campaign surrogates are making a pitch to Hispanic voters that Trump built a strong economy prior to the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus pandemic, one that saw the unemployment rate for Hispanics reach all-time lows.
In 2016, Trump won the votes of about 3 in 10 Latino voters, and he faces strong economic headwinds as he tries to improve his standing.
Overall, 66% of Hispanic Americans and 53% of Black Americans say they've experienced some form of household income loss, including layoffs, unpaid time off and cuts in hours or pay, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.. Forty-two percent of white Americans say the same. Thirty-four percent of Hispanics, 29% of African Americans and 20% of white Americans said someone in their household has been laid off.