They face deportation proceedings
A raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Thursday night resulted in the detention of the mother and brother of local DREAM Act activist Erika Andiola. Erika and her mother have appeared on national TV and spoken in numerous public forums in favor of passage of the DREAM Act.
ICE agents came to the family's home in Phoenix and took Andiola's mother, Maria Arreola, and Andiola's older brother, Herriberto Andiola Arreola, both of whom are in the U.S. illegally. Erika Andiola says she figured her family was targeted because of her activism, but tells KFYI news that she thought it odd that ICE agents didn't ask about her immigration status or attempt to detain her.
"I had a lot of questions for them as to why they were taking my mother and brother, and they couldn't answer me," Andiola says.
ICE officials say Andiola's outspokenness had nothing to do with the detentions. Rather, the agency says, it had a long-pending deportation order for the mother. On Friday, Erika's brother was released at 6 a.m., and the mother was released later in the day. Erika tells KFYI News that her mother was "very close to the Mexico border" in the custody of ICE agents who were taking her to the border to send her back to Mexico when they received notification that the woman had been given a one-year reprieve, and that she should be returned to Phoenix and released.
Andiola says that the detentions contradict the Obama administration's commitment to only deport illegal immigrants with a criminal record. "My mother has been here for 15 years and has never had any contact with the authorities as far as any type of criminal activity," she says.
A news release from the United We DREAM Network calls the detentions "the latest case of a government agency out of control."
The DREAM Act (the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) would allow some illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally, with an eventual path to citizenship, if they were brought here by their parents before they were 16 years old, graduate from high school, and attend college for two years or serve two years in the U.S. military. It has been introduced in Congress each year for many years, often with bipartisan support, but has never passed.