CONROE, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - David Watkins pain of being separated from his wife Selene Saavedra Roman could be heard through the phone. She was detained in an immigration detention center in Conroe for more than a month and Friday evening she was released.
"Every time I wake up and I'm just stuck in a nightmare and yeah I'm just stuck in a nightmare up until an hour ago,” Watkins said.
"I could only visit her once a week for an hour through two inches of glass. I'm not even allowed to touch her and I think they only allow them to go out two or three times a week so she wasn’t doing well at all. She was carrying some pretty high anxiety and some pretty severe depression."
Saavedra Roman worked as a flight attendant for mesa airlines and in February she was assigned a trip from the U.S to Mexico. The DACA recipient was hesitant at first to fly internationally. Dallas Attorney Belinda Arroyo said her employer assured her she would return safely.
However, when she came back from her flight she was booked into customs.
Word of her detainment became viral on social media as the airline and the flight attendants’ union made a call for action - creating a petition with more than 20-thousand signatures. "I think that I do hope this case brings to light the problems that are inherently existing at the point with the fact that we have left all these DACA recipients in limbo," Arroyo said.
Mesa Chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein released a statement saying in part
"We are deeply sorry Selene and her husband have had to endure this situation. It is patently unfair for someone to be detained for six weeks over something that is nothing more than an administrative error and a misunderstanding.”
The Texas A&M grad was born in Peru and brought to the U.S when she was three years old. She married a U.S citizen and was in the process of applying for residency. Arroyo said that may change because the federal government threatened to revoke her DACA status while she was in custody.
Saavedra Roman is expected to be before an immigration judge in April.