Memphis journalist gets stay of deportation

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Southern Poverty Law tells WREG officials ordered a stay of deportation for journalist Manuel Duran.

He was set to be deported on Wednesday but he remains in detention in Louisiana while his appeal is pending.

The journalist was arrested while covering an immigration related protest in April, and ice agents picked him up despite his disorderly conduct charges being dropped.

WREG spoke with with his girlfriend and his attorney about what this means.

"Well I'm definitely excited, I'm happy but everything has been a roller coaster since he was arrested," said Melissa Valdez.

Valdez overjoyed her boyfriend of ten years, Manuel Duran won a stay of deportation from The Board of Immigration.

"I'm just ready for this to be over and this new thing that has happen gets a light of hope so I'm anxious but also really happy," said Valdez.

So what does this mean?  Well, now the board will consider his attorney's motion to reopen the immigration case.

"We are arguing his case should be open because conditions in El Salvador have become significantly worse for journalist since he left a decade ago and returning him to El Salvador would mean that he faces extreme danger given his status as journalist who covers corruption among public officials," said Michelle LaPointe.

Duran is being held at an immigration center in Louisiana where he's been since April.

LaPointe with the Southern Poverty law says they`re dealing with this case in federal court.

"We argue that his arrest and detention by ICE were unlawful because he was targeted during a protest where he was acting as a reporter and exercising his first amendment rights," said LaPointe.

LaPointe says the community has been so supportive and it has kept Duran spirits up.

"I just hope that people continue to stand with him and continue to advocate his release from detention and rights to remain in the united states," said LaPointe.

She says they plan to do everything in their power to get him back home to his family.

"We're not going to standby when these unlawful arrest and detentions occur and that we will be challenging the actions of the government," said LaPointe.


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