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DACA recipient and flight attendant held in immigration custody

Under the Trump administration’s policies, DACA recipients in Florida and the rest of the country are not permitted to travel outside the United States. When a 28-year-old flight attendant for Mesa Airlines traveled on a flight to Mexico for work, she was detained by immigration on the flight’s return to Texas. She was released on March 22 after more than a month in custody.

The woman had put Canada and Mexico on her list of places she would not be able to fly to, but the airline had assured her that it would be permissible for her to take the trip. Since she was new and still on probation, she did not want to refuse working the flight. She had been open with the airline about her DACA status, and according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, it is not unusual for flight attendants to put countries on a list they cannot fly to for various reasons.

Although the woman’s husband is a U.S. citizen and she is applying for legal residency, her DACA status was threatened by authorities when she was in custody. Mesa Airlines, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and others are working to press lawmakers to get any charges against her dropped.

Laws around DACA and a number of other immigration regulations have changed under the Trump administration, and there may be more changes ahead still. Someone who is worried about immigration detention may want to consult an attorney about the situation. Legal counsel could explain the client’s legal status and what the next steps should be to try to prevent a deportation.