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Border & Immigration

Immigrant Arrested In National City In Widely Seen Video Is Released In Bond Hearing

A screen grab of a Facebook video shows Perla Morales-Luna allegedly being arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in National City, March 8, 2018.
Judith Castro-Rangel / Facebook
A screen grab of a Facebook video shows Perla Morales-Luna allegedly being arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in National City, March 8, 2018.

A Mexican woman living in National City whose videotaped arrest for being in the U.S. illegally gained widespread attention online is being released on her own recognizance after a bond hearing before an immigration judge in Otay Mesa.

Judge Zsa Zsa De Paolo said Tuesday that 36-year-old Perla Morales Luna wasn't a danger to society or a flight risk.

Video shows the mother of three being pulled away from her anguished daughters earlier this month by Border Patrol agents.

RELATED: Following Immigration Arrest Caught On Video, National City Residents Strategize To Protect Undocumented Neighbors

The government claimed Morales Luna was involved in human trafficking but did not charge her for such a crime. She has denied the allegations and does not have a criminal record.

The judge says it wasn't her role to consider the smuggling allegations but noted that three other people accused of ties to the trafficking claims were exonerated. Immigrant rights advocates have criticized Border Patrol for making similar allegations against immigrants throughout the country when their arrest garners media attention.

In response to criticism over the allegations against Morales Luna, the Border Patrol released additional details of a January "smuggling event" in which she was allegedly involved.

Morales Luna's immigration case is now being sent to a federal court in San Diego. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were no criminal cases against Morales Luna according to a KPBS search of federal court records.

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