Reporter Manuel Duran released from ICE custody

Reporter Manuel Duran released from ICE custody
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Journalist Manuel Duran who was arrested by local police and later detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last year was released from ICE custody, according to his attorneys. 

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has represented him in court, Duran was arrested in April 2018 while covering a protest in Memphis, Tenn., and had spent 465 days in jail. He had previously reported on alleged law enforcement cooperation with ICE. 

He was released from Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama after SPLC and Adelante Alabama Worker Center lawyers sought his bond.

“I feel like I’m reborn,” Duran said moments after his release, according to an SPLC statement. “I am happy for this day. It has been a very difficult time but thanks to God, this is the day I waited for. I am grateful for my team, family, and my community for all the help.”

Gracie Willis, an SPLC attorney, said in the statement that Duran's release is a win for First Amendment rights. 

“We are thrilled that Manuel will finally be reunited with his family and community,” Willis said. “While Manuel’s release is cause for celebration, we are reminded that his struggle over the last 15 months is an indictment of an immigration system clearly designed to force immigrants seeking relief under the law to give up on their meritorious cases.”

Duran has said that he believes his initial arrest by local police was retaliation for his reporting on law enforcement for the Spanish-language news outlet Memphis Noticias. Police have denied this.