Moreno says the single mother emphatically denies the Border Patrol's allegation that she was an organizer of a transnational smuggling network.
Despite the explanation, many people questioned the tactics used in the arrest and wondered why Morales-Luna was arrested for being in the country illegally and not for the far more serious smuggling crimes alleged by the Border Patrol. Sotelo-Solis said Morales-Luna and her three daughters were walking to pay rent Saturday when a man dressed in civilian clothes approached, asked her name and then took her into custody.
"We don't see any criminal charges ever filed against her in any capacity so we're at a bit of a loss as to why they're allegedly the alien smuggling issue", Moreno said.
A video of a woman being pulled away from her weeping daughters on a California street and shoved into a Customs and Border Protection vehicle has gone viral and sparked outrage for the way federal agents are enforcing immigration laws.
Meanwhile, the daughters are staying with a family member.
The Border Patrol transferred Morales-Luna to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody Friday for deportation proceedings, said agency spokeswoman Lauren Mack.
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Her lawyer Andrés Moreno II says she's been in the country since she was 15 and her children are USA citizens.
Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, a National City Councilmember, said she felt "sad" and "infuriated" when she saw the video. They also said that Luna had been arrested previously.
"It's not right that she's been separated from her family as a result of simply being here illegally", Moreno said.
During subsequent telephone conversations with federal agents, Morales-Luna repeatedly refused to turn herself in, according to the CBP statement. One of the officers hands her daughters the keys to their home before driving away with their mother. Therefore, once she was in custody, agents immediately departed the area.
Video of the woman being pulled from her daughters on March 3 in National City, a San Diego suburb, drew almost 10 million views on Facebook by Friday afternoon.
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