MEMPHIS, Tenn (localmemphis.com) - A petition is now filed as part of an effort to get the release of a local Latino journalist in this country illegally.
Manuel Duran is currently being held at a federal facility in Louisiana.
He was arrested while covering a protest outside 201 Poplar on April 3.
In a news conference Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center argued Duran's arrest was a retaliation against his reporting and it violates his First Amendment right of speech.
The SPLC says Duran has written several articles critical of police and immigration detention.
Michelle Lapointe, attorney with SPLC, told Local 24, "Government actions like this make our communities less safe, by driving a wedge between law enforcement and the communities they're supposed to protect.”
Immigration officials say the only reason Duran is in custody is because he failed to appear to a 2007 immigration court date.