Video of woman being pulled away from her daughters in immigration arrest sparks anger
Perla Morales-Luna clung to a young woman’s arm as Border Patrol agents tugged her away.
The agents, one dressed in uniform, pulled her until she released her grip and shoved her into a U.S. Customs and Border Protection van waiting at the curb, her three daughters watching.
“Get in the car!” someone yelled.
Voices cried and screamed in the background. Moments later, the van drove off.
The dramatic scene unfolded in National City on Saturday during what federal authorities called a targeted operation to arrest a woman who allegedly has ties to a transnational smuggling organization and is suspected of being in the country illegally. But video of the encounter that spread across social media on Thursday alarmed immigrant rights activists, who questioned the aggressive detention tactics by federal authorities, who forcibly took her into custody in front of her family.
“It’s really a grotesque way of detaining and enforcing immigration law,” said Benjamin Prado, coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee’s San Diego U.S.-Mexico Border Program, a human rights group working with the Morales family. “It is very quickly accelerating to a very tyrannical form of detention and arrest, snatching people up off the street.”
Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said Morales was identified as an organizer for the smuggling operation, but he did not know details about her involvement. She is being held on suspicion of being in the country illegally.
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