A fundraiser started Monday is already nearing its goal of $20,000 to help a Twin Cities activist pay for legal fees in the face of potential deportation.
The GoFundMe account is raising money for Estefania Navarro Hernandez, a first generation immigration from Minneapolis whose status in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program makes her vulnerable to deportation.
She was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Washington County and was detained over the weekend, the fundraiser says, though it doesn't say what led to her being picked up.
She will have a hearing with an ICE officer within the next month to determine her status.
In a video posted to the Navigate MN Facebook page, Navarro said she posted bail and is grateful for the support she's receiving.
"I'm free for now," Navarro says. "I love you all so much. I love my community, I love Minnesota and I'm not quite ready to leave – ever. This is far from over, though. We can't quite yet claim victory."
Navarro came to the U.S. in 2005 with her mother, and is now a prominent activist for Navigate MN, for whom she advocates for policy changes to help immigrants "live a better life in America."
She's a graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and during her tenure was named a "Student Leader of the Year" for her statewide organizing efforts.
"Estefania is such a valuable community member," the fundraiser says. "She has run and won tuition equity campaigns, has supported hundreds of students, and is a solid friend that cares for so many of us, her community and a better world."
As of the time of writing, the fundraiser had raised more than $16,000 in just 24 hours. It'll be used to cover her defense expenses and her family.
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BMTN has reached out to ICE for comment, but has yet to hear back.
A statement from ICE agents to the Star Tribune last year noted that "all ICE operations are targeted based on investigative leads."
So-called "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. as children had been granted protected under the DACA program. The White House scrapped it last year, though this was overturned in court.
Congress has not yet come to an agreement to replace the program, leaving many of those with DACA status uncertain over their future in the country, though they are allowed to re-apply if their status is expiring.