Memphis-based journalist relieved to be back in Bluff City and out of ICE detention

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After being detained for more than 15 months, a Memphis-based journalist is back in town, and he's sharing his story about ICE and facing deportation.

Manuel Duran has been on an odyssey since being arrested in Memphis last April, and in his first public appearance since being detained, he spoke out — through a translator — against recent changes to immigration law.

“ICE is destroying our families for no reason," he said. "What is the purpose of these attacks against our communities? I have seen the disastrous effects of (President Donald) Trump’s immigration policy.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center says it took 23 legal filings and seven pro bono attorneys to five detention centers, places Duran said are barely live-able.

“The condition inside these detention centers are not adequate," he said. "The places are infected with pests, cockroaches and spiders. This experience has been very difficult for me and my family, psychologically and economically.”

Duran was arrested at 201 Poplar on April 3, 2018, during an immigration protest. But despite the arduous journey he's been on since then, Duran has found a way to become grateful for his experiences.

“His experience is invaluable," the translator said about Duran. "His response to the question about if he would change anything, his response is no, he wouldn’t change anything.”

Duran has felt a complex mix of emotions since his release, but above all else, Duran says it felt right returning to the Bluff City.

“He is trying to adapt, but it has been difficult," Duran's translator said. "But as soon as he felt the Memphis air, he knew that he was safe at home.”

Duran’s legal team said he will appear in immigration court at an undecided date before they decide his next course of action toward staying in the United States.

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