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Salvadoran woman who won civil right suit in Maryland released from ICE custody

The Baltimore Sun

A Salvadoran woman who won a civil rights lawsuit against Frederick County has been released from the custody of immigration officials after being unexpectedly detained in January during a routine check-in.

Roxana Orellana Santos was released Monday evening after she was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite a judge’s order for her to remain in the United States amid mediation for her 2009 civil rights suit, according to officials with CASA, a nonprofit organization that provided her with legal assistance.

“She is now at home with her four children who were excited to see and hug her once again,” CASA officials posted on social media Tuesday.

Santos has completed the check-ins with ICE officials since she was first arrested by Frederick County sheriff’s deputies in 2008. Santos later won a civil rights lawsuit against the county stemming from that arrest.

Deputies at the time asked to see her identification while she was sitting on a curb eating lunch. They arrested her on an outstanding immigration warrant related to her failing to show up to court after having been detained after crossing into the country years before, court records state.

A court found Santos’ Fourth Amendment right to reasonable searches and seizures was violated by the deputies.

The Frederick County resident and her attorneys are in negotiations with Frederick County officials to determine the extent of damages from the suit. Santos also is seeking policy changes within the sheriff’s department as a result of the lawsuit.

ICE officials’ decision to detain Santos came as a shock to activists and her civil rights attorney Jose Perez, who said a judge ordered in 2017 that immigration officials allow Santos to remain in the United States until the case had been settled. Perez notified ICE of the ruling but said Santos was not released.

Santos’ attorneys filed a habeas corpus petition in U.S. District Court and were granted a restraining order against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE.

ICE officials agreed to release Santos on an Order of Supervision, under which she was required to post a $5,000 bond, her attorney Nicholas Katz said in an email. CASA officials set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the funds, which has since generated more than $5,600 in donations out of a $10,000 goal. The money is planned to help pay for the family’s bills as Santos may not be permitted to return to work, according to the post.

The page was updated Tuesday to share news of Santos’s release, but said the fight was far from over as she “remains at risk of detention again in the future.”

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