Undocumented student’s arrest called part of ‘civil rights disaster’

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) — Staring at the throngs of media representatives who came out to hear and see her Friday, Jessica Colotl took another step into the fight for her future.

The undocumented student from Mexico whose case has become a lightning rod in the immigration debate had been released on $2,500 bond just a couple hours earlier. The 21-year-old student at Kennesaw State University in Georgia surrendered Friday morning to authorities in response to a warrant for her arrest issued Wednesday night by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

Standing nervously before the crowd, Colotl fought back tears when people cheered for her. The media bombarded her with questions as she tried to give voice to her struggle.

Just a week earlier, she’d been released from a deportation facility in Alabama after being stopped in March for a minor traffic violation.  “If I were to be deported, I’d have to start all over again,” she said. “I’m hoping for the best.”  The sheriff’s office said she gave a false address when stopped for that violation, a felony charge that her attorney denies.

A spotlight has been trained on Arizona since Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that requires law enforcement officials to seek proof of legal U.S. residency from anyone whom they have stopped on suspicion of having violated the law.

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