Mesa Airlines flight attendant and “Dreamer” Selene Saavedra Roman has now been released from detainment after a wave of outrage spread across social media.
Saavedra Roman’s story was initially made public this week by travel blog The Points Guy, who reported on her detainment following a trip to Mexico. Saavedra’s employer promised her that even though she was undocumented, she would be safe flying to and from Mexico.
However, after going back through U.S. Customs, Roman was detained and set to be deported, prompting outcry on social media and spawning the hashtag #FreeSelene. Sara Nelson, who is president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, tweeted about her story and urged her followers to sign a petition calling for her release. A MoveOn petition in support of Roman has nearly 15,000 signatures as of this writing.
Add your voice. Sign the petition:https://t.co/SDwVnbBAnv
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) March 22, 2019
Roman, who is 28 years old, was previously protected by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — in which so-called “Dreamer” undocumented immigrants can legally live and work in the US — but that program is currently being challenged by the Trump administration’s Department of Justice. Roman had been detained for approximately six weeks before being released on Friday.
According to The Points Guy, Roman arrived illegally in the U.S. at the age of three from Peru, and has lived in Texas her whole life. Roman has a Social Security number, pays federal taxes, and is married to a U.S. citizen. However, it takes up to three years for someone married to a citizen to be able to apply for naturalization, meaning Roman is still in the window of vulnerability to be deported due to her immigration status.
Bloomberg reported Friday that both Mesa Airlines and Nelson’s union joined forces to ask for the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security to release Roman, who was detained in early February. Typically, undocumented immigrants with DACA protections can’t be deported, as DACA only applies to a certain percentage of immigrants who have no criminal record, and are either gainfully employed, serving in the military, or enrolled in school.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.