Kimberly Pineda-Chavez, the 19-year-old Honduran whose harrowing immigration case was featured in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month, was released on bond from a detention center in South Georgia this week.
Now that she is free from the Irwin County Detention Center, the Collins Hill High School student can assist her attorney in helping argue her case for asylum so she can remain with her family in Buford. She is among hundreds of people who have been arrested in Georgia and other states this year as part of a crackdown against the waves of Central Americans immigrants illegally entering the country.
Pineda-Chavez said she fled Honduras in 2014 at age 17 to escape gangsters who threatened to make her and her younger sister their “sexual property.” Immigration authorities apprehended the sisters at the southwest border in September of that year, and Pineda-Chavez was ultimately ordered deported.
Preparing to send her back to Honduras, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested her in January of this year in a parking lot outside her home. Her attorney said she was on her way to school.
“She shouldn’t have been detained to begin with,” said her attorney, Elanie Cintron. “It’s a huge victory.”
A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement Friday, saying the agency “respects due process and the legal system, and we conduct enforcement in full accordance with federal law and agency policy.”