ICE Detained a Flight Attendant and DACA Recipient for 6 Weeks, All Because She Worked on a Flight to Mexico

Selene Saavedra Roman was taken into custody in a Houston airport.


Wikipedia/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

In February, Selene Saavedra Roman, a Texas-based flight attendant, took what should have been an uneventful work trip—a round-trip flight to Mexico and back. But when she landed in Houston, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained her and placed her in a detention center. She was released this past Friday after six weeks in custody.

Saavedra Roman is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, having come to the U.S. illegally when she was 3 years old. Otherwise known as a "Dreamer," she is among 700,000 others who arrived in the States as young children and who are temporarily protected from deportation.

Even still, when she accepted a job with the regional Mesa Airlines, it was because she thought they would not require her to travel internationally. Anxious over the complex web of immigration policies that affect Dreamers, she told the company that she preferred not to leave the continental U.S., according to The Washington Post.

In the past, DACA recipients have been able to apply to travel outside of the country, so long as they could show it was for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes (and as long as they could come up with the $575 application fee). But those pleas now fall on deaf ears. New restrictions under the Trump administration forbid Dreamers from leaving and reentering the country under any circumstances.

Belinda Arroyo, Saavedra Roman's attorney, says that her client shouldn't have bypassed the government. But she adds that Saavedra Roman was unaware of the specific travel stipulations. After receiving notice of her Mexico flight, she voiced her general uneasiness with company superiors at Mesa Airlines, who incorrectly told her she had no reason to worry.

In that vein, Arroyo argues that Saavedra Roman is a "poster child" for the immigration system's ills, particularly with the confusing changes that have taken place since President Trump took office. "They've been lost in legal limbo, and it's getting quite ridiculous," she tells The Washington Post.

So ridiculous that neither employers nor DACA recipients are quite certain what the rules are. "It is patently unfair for someone to be detained for six weeks over something that is nothing more than an administrative error and a misunderstanding," Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein said in a statement.

"Basically the administrative error is that they told her she could travel," Arroyo told The Hill.

Although Saavedra Roman has since been released from detention, the threat of deportation still looms. Arroyo says that, while her client was still in custody, she was notified that ICE had asked the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if her DACA status could be rescinded.

Saavedra Roman is married to an American citizen who was already in the process of seeking a green card on her behalf when she was detained by ICE. They were reunited on Friday.

"I cried and hugged my husband and never wanted to let go," she said in a statement following her release. "I am thankful and grateful for the amazing people that came to fight for me, and it fills my heart. Thank you to everyone that has supported. I am just so happy to have my freedom back."

NEXT: The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Both a Terrible Place to Work and a Place That Does Terrible Work

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “What flies through the breeze, gets caught in the trees and is covered in fleas?”

    “Air Mexico” – Paul Lynde , Hollywood Squares/

    1. circle gets the square.

      1. I earned $5000 last month by working online just for 5 to 8 hours on my laptop and this was so easy that i myself could not believe before working on this site. If You too want to earn such a big money then come and join us.

        CLICK HERE??

        1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $30h ? $72h?how? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance? on something new? after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

          Heres what I’ve been doing? ,,,

          CLICK HERE?? http://www.TheproCoin.Com

  2. If she was a DACA person, she is an illegal alien. DACA is a meaningless program. Live by the “prosecutorial discretion” die by it.

    1. She broke The Law so she should be shipped back to the country where she grew up.

      1. She can blame her parents. Again, Reason was all about Presceutorial discretion when it was throwing out immigration laws and telling the country to go fuck themselves. Well, why don’t love it now? Maybe having a rule of law is more important than getting your pony?

        1. Individual liberty is more important than uniformity of law enforcement.

          1. Perhaps. You know the quickest way to get rid of a bad law? Enforce it rigorously.

          2. Trump offered to sort this out with the democrats. They took a hard pass. This is a democrat problem.

    2. no that is completely wrong, there is literally no such thing as an “illegal alien”.

      1. No, you’re completely wrong.
        Illegal alien is a term that applies to those in the country without permission to be here. It is codified in our immigration laws.
        You’ve got it confused with “undocumented immigrant” – now THAT’S something that there is literally no such thing as.

  3. We’ll start clearing the authoritarian bigots and slack-jawed jerks out of ICE (and other federal agencies) in a couple of years.

    1. Better clear your throat of McConnell’s dick, you witless copraphiliac.

    2. So you are saying that Democratic Presidents stuff ICE and Federal agencies with authoritarian bigots?

      1. Yes, he is.

        Seriously, if you spend some time reading the Rev on the assumption that he’s trying to discredit “his” side, the plausibility of the thesis just mounts up. He’s just enough over-the-top compared to, say, Tony.

  4. So ridiculous that neither employers nor DACA recipients are quite certain what the rules are

    Well, given the actual rule unambiguously stated in duly-enacted law is, “You aren’t a legal resident, you have no right to be in the US”, what you’re actually saying is what’s ridiculous is that DACA recipients are sure what arbitrary administrative dictates are protecting them from the rules being enforced.

    And the rule of men, not law, is not just ridiculous, it is a direct subversion of the Constitutional order and the principles of representative government.

    1. you have no right to be in the US

      Does the government determine what rights you have?

      1. Yes, Government Almighty is the boss of God Almighty!!!

        I will now demonstrate, logically and impeccably, that Government Almighty is the boss of God Almighty?
        Here is PROOF!

        We read in the papers, every day almost, of federal judges (servants of Government Almighty) sitting in judgment (using their magical mind-reading powers) about whether or not our religious beliefs are “sincerely held”, or not.
        Yet I have NEVER heard of credible evidence concerning God Almighty, sitting in judgment about whether or not our beliefs in Government Almighty are “sincerely held”, or not!!!

        Brain case closed!!!

      2. A statement that a legal situation is confusing is not a statement that the situation is morally wrong. Similarly, the statement that the actual legal situation is not, in fact, confusing is not a statement that the situation is morally correct.

        The article did not argue that the problem is that she should have a full right to stay in the country. That would be a fine argument to make, but the article did not make it. The article argued that her legal situation is confusing.

        But the source of that confusion is not the law, ICE, or Trump; the source is Obama deciding by executive order to refuse to faithfully execute the laws of the United States, and the courts refusing to allow Trump to actually faithfully execute the laws. The cure for that confusion is very simple; have the executive enforce written laws as written, rather than a) allowing the executive to invent an entire complicated bureaucratic structure to subvert the law, and b) treating those bureaucratic rules as binding restrictions on the executive enforcing the laws as written in the future.

        Then, of course, it becomes entirely clear that any moral problem in the case lies with the decisions of Congress in making the law and failing to amend the law.

        1. all of that is completely wrong, the immigration law is a limitation that applies to the GOVERNMENT. There is no ‘requirement’ to do something, it is a RESTRICTION on prosecution at all. it’s the opposite: there is a 5 year time bar to bring any removal action so 90% of the so-called ‘illegal aliens’ are not illegal at all. Only the outrageous, unconstitutional and frivolous “removal actions” are illegal, nearly all of them.

          “these are the grounds for removal”, and it proceeds from that point. “being in the United States illegally” is not one of them. That’s like getting prosecuted because its alleged i’m guilty. You have to bring FACTS that relate to LAWS, not start from conclusions. Literally, everything you think you know is absolutely wrong.

          DACA has almost no application in the real world. To “arrive” means “come through a federal port”. It does not mean “sail in a yacht to the local marina”, “fly in a hot air balloon”, or “hike the desert”.

          1. I know you think you have this figured out in a way that no one else has but you need to realize the reason no one else has figured it out that way – you’re dead wrong.
            You’re the guy, marching in a parade, who is in step, while everyone else isn’t.

        2. Good summation.

      3. According to the constitution, on this subject, yes.

    2. Bingo! She knew what the rules were.

      And she knew what the ‘rules’ were, too, which is why she told her employer she couldn’t fly to Mexico.

      But, what can she say now? “I knew this was supposed to result in me being deported, but, honestly, I thought I’d get away with it!”?

      1. She “knew” what the rules were. But then the airline, her employer, informed her that her knowledge was incorrect.

        Expecting airlines that fly internationally to understand laws related to international travel is not crazy. A lot of people will change what they “know” about something when an authority figure tells them that they previously “knew” was incorrect.

        1. Well, then, perhaps the airline will find her a job outside the US.

          In the mean time, she knew she was in the US illegally, and subject to deportation at any time. It says so right in the DACA application paperwork.

          And she knew that she could be deported if she left the US without arranging for a waiver in advance. Which is why she protested the flight assignment.

          Yeah, the airline apparently led her astray. Guess what: Being given bad advice by your employer doesn’t typically protect you from legal liability.

          1. you are infantile

        2. Expecting airlines that fly internationally NOT to send flight crew out of the country is insane. Get a job at a regional, or on the ground.

      2. those are not the rules. Why on earth would she be deported? After living in the United states for the last 25 years, the lien of immigration law must have barred decades ago. Oh whats that? You don’t know what I’m talking about?

        1. You can’t obtain citizenship, or even legal status, by adverse possession. Doesn’t work that way.

          1. This fool thinks everything works in ways no one else does.

    3. except that you have completely misunderstand immigration law and everything you just wrote is gibberish. this is literally NOT the statement of any enacted law:

      “you aren’t a legal resident, you have no right to be in the US”

      immigration law applies to the GOVERNMENT, not the respondent. It is not a statement of any claim whatsoever that “you are not a resident” (they never say “legal” resident) and ***therefore*** it’s ground for deportation.

      EVERY law is founded in the exercise of discretion. Nobody HAS to do something, that;s ridiculous. The law ALLOWS procedure (“prosecution”). It is the BASIS on which to bring a legal action, like “removal from the United States”.

      DACA is a sham, because nobody wants to tell you the truth: immigration law has a time limit for one, and for two it does not apply in the several States. The only reason this actually came up is that somebody was attempting to enter the united country in a federally controlled port (“door”).

      After living in the united States since 3 years old, anyone is a permanent resident with or without “permission”. The federal government does not control any territory and it does not grant permission to reside in the United States, which are 50 separate countries.

      1. “The federal government does not control any territory and it does not grant permission to reside in the United States, which are 50 countries”

        Woah. Who knew the u.s was 50 separate countries? All this time we could have had so much more Olympic representation.

        And the fed gov controls no territory? Where do you start with people who live in an imaginary universe full of facts which they want to believe?

  5. the confusing changes that have taken place since President Trump took office

    Oh yes, because immigration was so much less confusing before Trump. And certainly, having a non-legislative policy like DACA helped to make everything so clear.

    Our immigration law is a confusing shitshow. Trump’s immigration law is no more shitshow than before. Partisan hackery from the new guy…go figure.

  6. “ICE Detained a Flight Attendant and DACA Recipient for 6 Weeks, All Because She Worked on a Flight to Mexico”

    Was it because she worked a flight to Mexico or was it because she is an illegal alien?

    1. The ol’ concatenation of causes.

    2. More specifically, she was trying to enter the US illegally at an airport.

      Apparently that doesn’t work very well.

      You aren’t an “illegal alien” if you aren’t in the US

      1. Her mistake was trying to enter the country through an airport rather than wading across the Rio Grande. We love indigent pedestrians but hate people who can afford airfare.

        1. Minor detail, just for the record.
          A whole lot of the illegal border crossers pay much more than the cost of airfare to be transported into the USA in violation of laws.

          Do you really think these caravans just spontaneously pop up like a flash mob? They are organized and sell positions to fund even more drug and human smuggling ventures.

          1. Actually, at this point it wouldn’t shock me if the DNC or one of their major donors was funding the caravans through cutouts.

  7. >>>she preferred not to leave the continental U.S.

    knew was going to be problem, made international flight. gonna be detained (not deported) in a shitty system that seemed to “work” this time?

  8. Yeah but is she hot?

    1. *takes a google* yes, yes she is

      1. Gorgeous. A surfboard, but strikingly beautiful.

        I would have detained her more than 6 weeks

        1. No good pictures to check out her tits.

  9. Sounds like the real assholes are her employers.

  10. ICE has a top down leadership problem.

    The goals and rules are not defined by admin. Therefore workers are expected to achieve without any clearly defined framework.

    The line of responsibilty begins in the White House and shit rolls downhill from there.

    For the workers actually dealing with it there is no winning. All you can do is try and avoid blame CYA.

  11. Kick her and her husband out. No more dirty mestizos in America.

  12. Maybe Congress needs to fix the fucked up immigration laws. I know, that’s crazy talk. They are too busy investigating whether Trump is actually Putin’s love child.

    1. I do hope that whatever Pelosi is cooking up, that she puts some sort of immigration reform on the table. That might be one of the least bad things that she cooks up.

      1. You think she’s going to actually propose anything that can actually manage to pass, rather than let Democrats grandstand against Republicans?

        She had her whole 2007-2011 Speakership to do it with either Bush or Obama, and didn’t. Now she’s going to offer Trump enough to pass something? Seriously, while I support your right to ingest any mind-altering substances you choose . . .

        1. It will probably be grandstanding, oh sure.

      2. She won’t Pedo Jeffy. She is evil and cares nothing for them. True;p is their only chance. he tried to help these people before, but Pelosi and Schumer weren’t interested.

        I suspect she would be at worst indifferent to your efforts to import illegals who are child rapists, so from your perspective, she does have that going for her.

        1. Blah blah blah. More crap from the guy who wants to murder Democrats. Buzz off and take your meds.

        2. “She is evil and cares nothing for them”

          I saw one of the funniest things yesterday on Chad Prather’s FB feed.

          They wen’t on the street at a liberal arts college and asked the kids about voter ID. The usual answers in hand, they went into Harlem and asked the folks they found there what they thought about the usual answer these progressive white kids gave, and pretty much universally thought all the answers were racist…they were pretty adamant that black people have ID, know how to get ID, know how to go the DMV, know how to use the internet, have phones with unlimited data plans, don’t mind showing ID to vote…to think otherwise is just plain stupid at best, and racist otherwise.

          By pretending to be mindful of black folks voting rights based on racist notions, these were simply demonstrating their racism steeped in the thought that black people are less capable than white people and need special protections.

          1. Every time I hear some rich white chick telling me that poor people with darker skin can’t figure out how to get IDs, I always think “wow, that’s one of the most racist things I’ve heard anyone say.”

            1. Getting new voter ID may be a hassle for old people who have a problem getting around and people who don’t have employers who allow them the afternoon off (or a few afternoons off) to stand on various lines at the registry for motor vehicles or city hall. City hall is not open on weekends or evenings.

              1. And if the Democrats really cared about those folks, they could subsidize some sort of mobile “new voter ID mobile” to go around to them.

                But that would only help people who were legally entitled to vote, and that’s not enough people voting for Democrats, they want a whole lot more.

            2. Isn’t it just as racist/sexist to say minorities/women, need extra help to get jobs, or promotions, or into college?
              But, thanks to the left, it happens every day.

    2. If Congressmembers cared about policy more than politics, with a little bit of compromise some version of the DREAM Act would have passed in 2001, when Orrin Hatch introduced it. But they don’t.

      And it doesn’t help the situation in the slightest to blame ICE, Trump, or anyone other than the people who pass (or choose not to pass) legislation. This is a legislative issue.

      1. I love it when people criticize politicians for acting politically.
        What do you think their job is?
        If they think an action will result in them not being re-elected, they’d be foolish to do it.
        There’s a reason immigration laws haven’t been relaxed or amnesty not passed – THE PEOPLE DON’T WANT IT, despite the phony push polls that the emenedia keeps publishing.

  13. Meanwhile, NYC suburb effectively decreed all unvaccinated children under house arrest… and not a peep from Reason

    1. Probably because Reason’s writers really, really don’t want to die in a pandemic.

      1. But if I’ve been vaccinated, aren’t I unlikely to die in the pandemic?

        1. You’re an idiot if you think that was a point you just made and scientifically illiterate to boot.

        2. Nope. Vaccines depend on herd immunity, so even if youre vaccinated, the anti-vaxxers can put you and your children at risk.

          1. Herd immunity or herd mentality.
            What’s next? Sugary drinks banned because of the pandemic of diabetes, or just the health costs of obesity?
            Big pharma thanks you for your understanding.

            1. Do you seriously not understand the difference between contagious disease and non-contagious conditions?

        3. Being vaccinated just reduces your chance of getting the disease, and maybe reduces how severe it ends up being if you get it.

          But vaccination actually relies on reducing that chance for such a large percentage of the population that the epidemic can’t spread. So a lot of the protection is lost if too few people get vaccinated.

    2. Fuck anti-vaxxers.

      1. You WILL get crabs from them – – – – –

    3. Because infectious disease control is an item all reasonable people agree on.

      If everybody who desired to be vaccinated could be, and vaccines were fully 100% effective, quarantines would be objectionable, since only those who voluntarily accepted the risk of death by preventable diseases would be at risk. But since those conditions don’t apply, temporary restraints on the liberty of those most likely to spread death during an outbreak are a perfectly reasonable measure.

      1. Having a chemical injected into your body is a “temporary restraint”?

  14. I basically make about $6,000-$8,000 a month online. It’s enough to comfortably replace my old jobs income, especially considering I only work about 10-13 hours a week from home. I was amazed how easy it was after I tried it?

  15. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

  16. This incident not withstanding, I’d be happy to let her stay, since she was just a kid when she was brought here. Just so long as her parents are deported to balance things out, since they knew what they were doing.

    1. If her father robbed a bank, and gave the money to her, or bought the house she lives in, would you let her keep it?
      The right thing for dreamers to do – and don’t give me the lie that they aren’t aware they are here illegally – once they become of age, is to go to the country of their citizenship and apply to return, legally.
      Not whine about being forced to obey our laws.

  17. Damn, I feel really bad for this girl.

  18. I earned $5000 last month by working online just for 5 to 8 hours on my laptop and this was so easy that i myself could not believe before working on this site. If You too want to earn such a big money then come and join us.


  19. Mesa Airlines hired an illegal alien who doesn’t hold a U.S. passport. Mesa Airlines knew she would be assigned to international trips. Some bright spark at Mesa Airlines assured her that flying to Mexico without a passport would not be a problem for her. She willingly got on the plane while knowing she didn’t have a passport. Now she and Mesa Airlines are blaming ICE for detaining her when she sought to reenter the country.

    1. How did she get hired? I have to prove my citizenship at every job I’ve ever held.

  20. Amensty for DACA means chain migration for the rest of us. You can’t grant them citizenship and then subsequently deny their families. I understand that it’s mean, but it’s no more or less mean than burdening existing American citizens, legal immigrants, and prospective legal immigrants who are worse off as a result of a growing tax burden, demographic replacement, erosion of American culture, and increased competition for limited immigration slots.

  21. So tell me if I missed something.
    This member of the brain trust took her employer’s word, and violated the conditions of her parole, and now blames the federal government for doing exactly what the law requires?
    ICE is expected to honor am employer email like it was the law?
    Did I get that right?

    OK sparky, here’s the deal; If you are not a fully legal immigrant or visitor, with valid documentation, or a US citizen, you are subject to arrest and deportation. To quote Emperor Hussein, “period”.

    1. But that’s just mean.

  22. “But she adds that Saavedra Roman was unaware of the specific travel stipulations”

    Which country issued her passport?

  23. This is very Amazing when i saw in my Acount 10000$ par month .Just do work online at home on laptop with my best freinds . So u can always make Dollar Easily at home on laptop ,,
    Check For info Here,

  24. my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $72/hr on the . She has been without a job for ten months but last month her paycheck was $21863 just working on the for a few hours. Read more on this site

  25. to all the morons:

    immigration law does not make people “illegal”. it applies to the GOVERNMENT, it defines and limits their ability to “remove” people who are not citizens from PORTS, not from “America”.

    whatever you think you know, it’s completely wrong. after living in the United States for the last 25 years, don’t you think any civil law would easily bar under “time limits”? “immigration” is not a status.

    1. Wow. I can’t say that every individual word in isolation is wrong, but when you put them all together like that you could scarcely be more wrong.

    2. Are you yelling in the mirror again grandma?

  26. Immigration law should not be used as an excuse to go out of your way to shit on people for your own amusement. Say what you will about Obama, he didn’t countenance that kind of enforcement the way the monster of Pennsylvania Avenue does.

  27. what April implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can profit $6755 in 1 month on the . did you look at this site link

  28. She’s an illegal alien (i.e. not a US citizen). She’s been here about 30 years and made no attempt to legalize her status. Which means she really doesn’t want to be a part of Team America in the first place. I’m pretty sure these are the illegals we don’t want.

    Why should I care if she gets deported?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.