Immigrants' rights activists are coming to the aid of Cindy Reyna, a UC Santa Barbara student and sometime model who they say was arrested and now faces deportation despite being a potential DREAM Act student.
The DREAM Act, which has not been passed on a federal level, would give amnesty to undocumented students who spent most of their lives in the United States: U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano has said immigrants who would be DREAM Act eligible would not be a priority for deportation.
Nonetheless, activists say that Reyna ...
... is facing deportation after she was detained by police for unknown reasons and then turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers this week.
They say cops put her in Santa Barbara County Jail last Thursday.
Supporters have started a petition at change.org that asks people to "take immediate action to stop the deportation of DREAM Act-Eligible student, Cindy Reyna ... "
The petition states:
Cindy is a young, ambitious, and hard working student who came to the U.S. at the age of 15 on a visa from Guatemala. Her father, a U.S. citizen tried to petition citizenship for Cindy, but while pursuing her college career she aged out of the broken immigration system. She is a senior at UC Santa Barbara majoring in Communications and Linguistics with a 3.8GPA; her scholastic and personal achievements include interning for Univision, the only Latino/a serving television station in the country, recognition in Santa Barbara City College's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society as well as the President's honor roll, certificates of special congressional and legislative recognition signed by Lois Capps and Pedro Nava and a Miss Santa Barbara County model.
Supporters say she's now being held at a federal detention facility in Camarillo and that she has been deemed a "priority" for deportation.
Reyna writes on her modeling site that ...
... I am very caring, loving, adventurous, and very determined when it comes to facing challenges and achieving my goals.
We have a call into ICE to find out what they have to say about Reyna's case.
[Update at 3:13 p.m]: Santa Barbara Sheriff's spokesman Drew Sugars tells us that Reyna was jailed Wednesday (Feb. 22) at the behest of ICE and spent 8 days behind bars until her release at 8 a.m. this morning ... when she was transferred to the custody of ICE agents.
"I don't know why" she was jailed "since it's an ICE detainer," he told the Weekly.
[Update at 6:24 p.m.]: Sugars of the S.B. County sheriff's office tells us she was arrested Feb. 22 on suspicion of DUI by the CHP. He says ICE put an immigration hold on Reyna after that, keeping her in jail for 8 days.
He says she was technically arrested on suspicion of two violations: DUI and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice sent us a statement that apparently backs up those claims, though she said Reyna was convicted relatively quickly:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer against Ms. Reyna Feb. 23 following her arrest by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office for driving under the influence. She was convicted of the DUI charge Feb. 28 and turned over to ICE Feb. 29 based on the immigration detainer. Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Ms. Reyna entered the United States on in Feb. 2004 on a visitor's visa, which authorized her to remain in the country for six months.
Ms. Reyna was processed by ICE Wednesday afternoon and placed in immigration removal proceedings. She is being released under the agency's alternatives to detention program, subject to regular reporting requirements, pending a hearing before an immigration judge. It will be up to the immigration judge to determine whether Ms. Reyna has a legal basis to remain in the United States."