A Cal State Los Angeles student who was recently released from federal detention after being arrested by immigration authorities applied Monday for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Claudia Rueda, 22, of Boyle Heights, was released from custody Friday after appearing before a judge in San Diego. She had been in custody since May 19, when she was arrested outside her family's home.
Her friends and supporters decried her arrest, alleging it was done in retaliation for her activism following the arrest of her mother by immigration officials earlier this year. Her mother was later released.
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Rueda is still facing possible deportation. In downtown Los Angeles Monday, she made her first check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities since her release. Her attorney has filed papers asking that immigration authorities exercise "prosecutorial discretion" and drop deportation proceedings against her.
ICE officials -- who said they were not involved with Rueda's arrest by Customs and Border Protection agents -- said earlier that "Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Ms. Rueda currently has no legal authorization to be in the United States." They said it will ultimately be up to a judge with the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review to determine if she will be deported.
Activists said Rueda has no criminal record and was brought to the United States at age 4.
While downtown on Monday, Rueda applied for the DACA program, which provides protection from deportation for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as young children by their parents. She told reporters she didn't have the money earlier to apply for DACA.
While she was in custody, "I felt like I was in a nightmare," Rueda said. "I was apart from my family," she said. "Waking up with screams and going to sleep with screams. I couldn't sleep for days."
She said she will continue to fight to stay in the United States.
"This is all that I know of," she said. "I don't know anything else. Los Angeles is family to me. It's my home and I want to stay here."