In advance of a vigil planned in San Francisco this evening for a Brazilian mother who is in federal custody on an immigration hold, authorities announced they will be releasing the woman from custody today to care for her infant child.
Reylla Denis Ferraz Da Silva, 35, was taken into custody on May 9 at the San Francisco office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to her attorney, Niloufar Khonsari.
Da Silva has a 9-month-old son who had not been breastfed by his mother since her detainment and has other medical issues as well, Khonsari said.
Da Silva’s family, friends and members of her South San Francisco church planned a 5:30 p.m. rally outside the ICE office.
However, this afternoon, ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said that Da Silva will be released later today.
Kice said ICE would release her “on electronic monitoring and grant her a stay of removal to afford her additional time to address her medical and legal issues.”
The agency was not notified when she was detained that Da Silva was nursing. ICE policy is to avoid detaining nursing mothers unless there are public safety concerns, according to agency officials.
Khonsari said her imminent release is good news, but “it’s still not enough, it’s still not a permanent solution.” She said Da Silva now plans to attend the rally after her release.
Khonsari said that Da Silva is a devout Christian and member of the Message of the Peace Church in San Francisco, where she is studying to become a pastor.
She said her client’s detainment “has been extremely hard on everyone in the family and in her community.”
Da Silva has lived in the U.S. for eight years since moving from Brazil.
Immigrant rights advocates planning the rally at 630 Sansome St. said Da Silva’s case highlights the disparity between the Obama Administration’s rhetoric on immigration reform and the reality of federal deportation policies.
Immigration reform legislation is still winding its way through Congress, with a bill passing the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The bill, S. 744, will now go in front of the full Senate.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News