Woman’s ICE detainer dropped a week after Austin family’s rally

Austin
Tania Silva picture

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer for a 21-year-old woman arrested during a mental health call in Austin last month has been dropped.

The Workers Defense Action Fund, which held a rally with Tania Silva’s family in front of the Travis County Jail calling for her release so she could be treated for mental health issues, announced the release Friday.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the ICE detainer was dropped, but could not specify why.

Silva’s family said at the time her condition could worsen if she was not taken to a facility with 24-hour monitoring.

“We really trusted police before when they helped her, but this time, instead of receiving the help she really needed they sent her to jail,” explained Pamela Silva, Tania’s sister, as she translated comments from their father into English. 

An Austin police mental health officer responded to a home on Edgedale Drive in east Austin around 7:30 a.m. on July 19.

According to an arrest affidavit, Silva said she wanted to hurt herself and a person standing next to her — even though there was no one standing next to her at the time.

When Silva became agitated after an officer asked her to give a dog she was holding back to its owner, she was put in handcuffs, police said. Silva then allegedly kicked an officer in the ribs and gouged an officer’s arm with her nails.

She was charged with assault on a public servant. Travis County Jail records show she was bonded out of jail Friday.

The Workers Defense Action Fund, which said Silva has been transferred to a hospital, thanked Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez “for standing up against these anti-immigrant policies that go against our local values.”

The group says Silva graduated from Lanier High School in the top 10 percent of her class as is studying at Austin Community College to become a veterinarian. 

KXAN has reached out to ICE for a statement on why the detainer was dropped.

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