Asylum-Seeker’s Release Shows Activists Can Win Under Trump’s ICE

March 22, 2018
Texas Observer

"'This case under Obama would’ve taken like a month,' said Claudia Muñoz, immigration projects director with Grassroots Leadership, an Austin nonprofit that fights private prisons and led the activism around Monterrosa’s case. Under Obama, she said, it was 'common practice' for ICE to release detained immigrants with health problems or in response to scandal — a practice that’s much less common now.

Muñoz, an undocumented activist who once made national headlines for infiltrating a Michigan immigrant detention center, said that ever since Trump’s election, it’s been an open question whether Trump’s ICE can be successfully pressured. 'A lot of people have stopped organizing because they don’t think it’s possible now,' she said. 'But you have to be willing to try; it might not work, but people are being deported either way.'

On Friday, ICE granted Monterrosa what’s called 'deferred action,' essentially a year-long promise not to deport her while she tries to sort out her immigration case. Such temporary reprieves, which are renewable but can be revoked by ICE at any time, are a common goal for activists and attorneys, but they’ve been much harder to come by under Trump. In a statement, San Antonio ICE spokesperson Nina Pruneda said Monterrosa is required to check in weekly with the agency."