Undocumented immigrant wins appeal

6:06 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
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FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WUSA9) -- Immigrant rights advocates are claiming a victory in Frederick County after an appeals court ruled a pair of Deputies acted inappropriately when they detained an undocumented immigrant.

After several years of back and forth an appeals court ruled in favor of the woman.

Roxanna Santos is from  El Salvador. She is the mother of four and is one of the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States illegally. She first came to this country in 2005, and settled in Frederick County. But, it wasn't until 2008 that her troubles with the law began. 

She says she was sitting on a bench outside her workplace eating a sandwich when she was approached by two Frederick County Sheriff's Deputies.

Court papers show they ran a background check on her and found she had an active deportation warrant issued by immigration and customs enforcement and moments after that, she was arrested. 

Santos says she had no idea why she was being arrested. She claims to not have known she was under a deportation order and according to her, the deputies did not explain what was going on. She would spend the next 46 days in a detention center.

Fast forward to this week, a lawsuit against the sheriff's department and an appeal late, a court has found the Deputies were in the wrong. 

She was overcome with emotion saying she feels like she can now live in peace. The 4th circuit court of appeals ruled the Deputies did not have the authority to enforce immigration laws, and they weren't trained to do so.

Frederick County sheriff Charles Jenkins defended his department when this first went public in 2008. He did not comment on this most recent ruling, but the president of the county board of commissioners did. 

"I disagree with the courts, and I support our sheriff's department 100 percent," he said.

Roxanna Santos currently is not eligible to apply for citizenship in this country. She hopes by the time this case has absolute finality, comprehensive immigration reform in this country will passed and she can therefore apply for her citizenship that way. Santos has been granted a temporary suspension of her deportation order.

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