Of course, this woman doesn't actually want to be arrested, what she really wants, according to her lawyer, is for the immigration authorities to start removal proceedings, (without detention, of course) so she can get "cancellation of removal." "Cancellation of removal" is almost as good as a green card, as far as an illegal is concerned. (See Juan Mann, here, on this.)
That means that immigration officers may have done the right thing, here. But as a policy, it's ridiculous.
DenverPost.com - "I am here illegally. They wouldn't take me in." Case exposes odd twist: Feds usually reject those who surrender By Bruce Finley, November 12, 2006 1
Eloina Meza, whose 8-year-old son Edgar has Down syndrome and heart problems, tried to turn herself in to immigration officials in hopes of having her case reviewed, but she was turned away. She is afraid that she and Edgar, a U.S. citizen, will be separated. (Post / Cyrus McCrimmon)
Federal agents who hunt for illegal immigrants have a policy against arresting those who voluntarily turn themselves in - as Eloina Meza discovered recently in Denver.
After hiding for 12 years, Meza mustered her courage and approached immigration agents at their offices - "I saw the security, the police, the cameras up around the room" - and tried to surrender.
Her son, Edgar, 8, a U.S. citizen who suffers from Down syndrome and heart trouble, needs her constantly. A single mother, Meza had grown increasingly worried that, if immigration agents were to catch her, she and Edgar could be separated.
Instead, she wanted to turn herself in and have a judge review her case so that she might stay legally in Denver with her son.