ICE drops immigration charges, releases Alabama woman after Gutierrez meeting with Napolitano

ICE drops immigration charges, releases Alabama woman after Gutierrez meeting with Napolitano

"Immigration officials released an undocumented Alabama woman from custody on Thursday, about four hours after a Democratic congressman told Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about her case.  The woman, a 19-year-old named Martha, was stopped on Dec. 3 for driving without lights, and then arrested because she did not have a driver's license. Although police planned to release her, she remained in jail at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents -- even though she has a clean criminal record, is married to a U.S. citizen and has an American-born daughter.  Her case caught the attention of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who traveled to Alabama in November to talk to residents about the impact of the state's HB 56 immigration law. He brought up Martha's situation and a recently announced "prosecutorial discretion" policy by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to drop deportation cases against some undocumented immigrants deemed low priority. Gutierrez requested that Martha's last name be left out to protect her identity.  Martha should fit into that category, he said, but was instead being held in jail because of her immigration status.  A few hours after Napolitano's meeting with members of Congress ended, Martha was released and returned to her husband and children. On Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement dropped all proceedings against the woman." - Elise Foley, Dec. 11, 2011.