Immigration authorities released a Texas flight attendant Friday after she was detained for more than a month following a flight to Mexico.
Selene Saavedra Roman – who is enrolled in the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – was told by her employer that she would not have problems re-entering the United States after working the international route, attorney Belinda Arroyo said.
Mesa Airlines chief executive Jonathan Ornstein later described the situation as an “administrative error.”
“She should have never been advised that she could travel,” Arroyo said. “It was a big mistake.”
Saavedra Roman immigrated illegally to the U.S. as a child and is enrolled in the government’s program for “Dreamers.” Participants who travel outside the country without the proper paperwork are no longer covered by the program, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
“Being released is an indescribable feeling,” Saavedra Roman said via a spokesman. “I cried and hugged my husband and never wanted to let go. I am thankful and grateful for the amazing people that came to fight for me, and it fills my heart.”
Saavedra Roman, 28, was detained as Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it was investigating her status. During her detention, multiple high-profile figures spoke out on her behalf, including a Friday tweet from Hillary Clinton.
David Watkins, Roman’s husband, learned about his wife’s detention in a text message, the Washington Post reports: “I’m being detained, please call the lawyer.”
“I think my wife is going to have PTSD for a long, long time,” Watkins told the newspaper in an interview. While Roman was detained, Watkins could only visit her once per week and could only see her through thick glass, he said.
Saavedra Roman is scheduled to appear before an immigration judge in April.
About 3.6 million undocumented immigrants brought to the country before their 18th birthday are enrolled in the Obama-era DACA program. Collectively, they’re referred to as “Dreamers,” named after a bill that’s failed to pass Congress since it was first introduced in 2001.
After passing security background checks and proving they were either in school, employed or serving in the military, DACA recipients were granted work permits and two-year reprieves from deportation that could be renewed. Trump has tried to end DACA; that is being appealed.
Contributing: Alan Gomez and David Jackson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press