MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis-based journalist who has been in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than a year walked free Thursday.
Duran, a journalist from El Salvador based in Memphis, spent 15 months in detention before being released Thursday. His case was recently reopened by an immigration appeals panel that will reconsider his claim that he is eligible for asylum.
“I feel like I’m reborn,” Duran said moments after his release. “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.”
Duran was released after his attorneys with the Southern Poverty Law Center and Adelante Alabama Worker Center sought bound. He was being held at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama.
Congressman Steve Cohen applauded Duran’s release Thursday.
“I was troubled by the way Manuel Duran was taken into custody while covering a legitimate public protest," said Cohen. "He was a well-known journalist and I hope he wasn’t targeted for that reason. I opposed his detention and have been calling for his release. I want to commend Mr. Duran’s superb attorney, Christy Swatzell and her team for their handling of the case. I look forward to seeing Mr. Duran reunited with his extended family, colleagues and friends soon.”
SPLC said Duran planned to reunite with his fiancee in Memphis upon his release.