A 23-year-old Los Angeles immigration activist sued the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday, alleging her application for DACA protection was rejected for political reasons.
Claudia Rueda, a Cal State Los Angeles student who lives in Boyle Heights, contends the government rejected her application under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA -- which protects from deportation immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as young children -- because of her political activism.
Rueda claims that the only difference between her application and those of other immigrants approved for DACA status is her "political speech and activism" against the department's immigration policies, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court.
A DHS representative said that a response was unlikely since the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Rueda was arrested in San Diego last year by federal agents, allegedly as retaliation for her activism following the detention of her mother for possible deportation.
"The illegal seizure arrest and detention that she suffered down in San Diego in violation of her rights under the First Amendment to speak her mind and to advocate on behalf of her community, under the Fourth Amendment against illegal search and seizure, and under the fifth Amendment against arbitrary processes that have no explanation and no basis in law," Rueda's attorney, John Ulin, said at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the lawsuit, the rejection of Rueda's DACA application violated DHS' internal policies because immigration authorities did not make a request for evidence or provide Rueda with a notice of their intent to deny her application.
Rueda said she still faces deportation proceedings at an immigration hearing expected at the end of next month.
"I'm not going to stay silent when I face and continue to face this legal violence and retaliation against my existence," Rueda said.