Selene Saavedra Roman was living in the U.S. under the Obama-era program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is a program that allows young immigrants brought to the country as children to stay and work legally.
Roman, who is 28 years old, came to the U.S. from Peru as a 3-year-old.
When President Donald Trump ended DACA enrollment for new applicants in 2017, he also prevented those currently in the program from leaving the country with the promise of legal reentry.
“It’s been extremely difficult,” Roman’s husband said on a call with reporters. “I could only visit her once a week through two inches of glass.”
The online travel site “The Points Guy” first reported on her detainment Thursday.
Thousands reacted to the news calling for her release including members of the flight attendants’ association as well as immigration activists. It even prompted a response from 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“This is an awful story,” Clinton tweeted Friday. She encouraged her followers to sign an online petition calling for the flight attendant’s release.
“What happened to Selene reminds us that our DACA positions are not stable,” said Damaris Gonzalez, a DACA recipient and immigration activist.
Roman’s lawyer said she had informed her employer of her situation and they assured she would not have an issue returning to the U.S.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, which administers DACA, would not comment on the specifics of Roman’s immigration status.