- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A woman locked herself inside a closet and refused to come out as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested her father and brother.

Local media report agents eventually left the Jackson house and didn’t arrest Daniella Vargas, the woman.

Vargas told WJTV-TV (https://bit.ly/2l9F6yx) after she emerged that her family came to Mississippi from Argentina about 17 years ago. She says her 55-year-old father, Daniel Vargas, has an expired visa that he was trying to get renewed. She says her brother, 26-year-old Alan Vargas, was also in the country without permission.

“My dad had just given me a kiss, said bye,” Daniella Vargas said.

She said agents were in the house for four hours “searching our attic, our room, pretty much tore down everything.”

Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, said deportation of Daniella Vargas was put off under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy implemented under President Barack Obama that allows undocumented immigrants who entered the United States to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation.

Some immigrants without legal status fear a shift in enforcement tactics under President Donald Trump. ICE Public Affairs Officer Thomas Byrd told The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/2l9y64T) that the agency conducts “targeted enforcement operations” but couldn’t comment specifically on the Jackson arrests.

“ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately,” Byrd wrote in an email.

Alliance attorney Brenda Chambliss told WAPT-TV (https://bit.ly/2l9IoSH) that the ICE agents told her she could not see the search warrant, but that they were there to search the house, not to take Danielle Vargas away. Daniella Vargas said the ICE agents came to the house looking for a gun. They found a handgun that Daniella said her father bought for self-protection.

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