Charlotte – An undocumented student active in the North Carolina youth movement that supports passage of the DREAM Act was set free Tuesday by immigration authorities after being arrested following a traffic accident.
Consuelo Chavez Perez was released Tuesday from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Danielle Bennett said.
The "miracle" that her parents Efigenia Perez and Manuel Chavez longed for happened when the family picked up the 19-year-old from an immigration court in Atlanta and took her home to Charlotte.
"My daughter was very scared, she didn't want to be taken away, I told her to pray a lot, to commend herself to God, that we were going to fight for her, and as it turned out we were successful, we're so happy," Perez told Efe.
On April 27, Consuelo was driving the family car to Wingate University, 40 miles from her home in Charlotte, when she had a traffic accident.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol report, Chavez fled the scene of the accident causing property damages.
Manuel Chavez told Efe that his daughter was frightened because she didn't have a driver's license, was stressed out by her final exams and tried to evade the authorities out of fear.
"My daughter studies and works to pay her expenses. She has been very active in the Catholic Church, gave catechism classes, she never got into trouble, she was always studying. She had to drive because the school was far away and there's no bus to that area," Perez said.
Consuelo arrived in Charlotte at 9:00 p.m. with her mother and another three siblings to join their father.
After her arrest, she was identified as undocumented by ICE's Secure Communities program, which operates in all 100 North Carolina counties.
ICE then sent her to the Irwin County Detention Center pending deportation, according to Mi Gente, a Spanish-language newspaper in Charlotte.
The circumstances of her release have not yet been revealed.
Consuelo went to Washington several times with a group of North Carolina students to support passage of the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide a path to legal permanent residence for undocumented students meeting certain requirements.
Gaby Pacheco, coordinator of the national group United We Dream, told Efe on Tuesday that the release of Chavez Perez "is acknowledgment that it's not a good idea to jail brilliant students."
The Department of Homeland Security issued 542 deferred actions in 2010, which do not require the intervention of Congress to temporarily suspend deportation of undocumented aliens.
Undocumented student Jessica Colotl, arrested last year for a traffic violation in Georgia, recently received authorization from ICE to remain in the country for another year.
Undocumented students nationwide have decided to "come out of the shadows" and make their cases known as a political strategy to pressure Congress to approve the DREAM Act, which is supported by President Barack Obama.