A “Dreamer” who was brought to the United States as a child and has no criminal record has been detained by immigration authorities.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, of Seattle, Washington, was “given a work permit during the Obama administration” but was taken into custody “in what could be the first detention of its kind under President Donald Trump,” according to Reuters. ICE is seeking to deport him. ICE had gone to the home to arrest his father, who was “deported eight times between 2000 and 2006…and… served a year in prison in Washington state for felony drug trafficking,” reported UK Daily Mail.
ICE claims Ramirez admitted being a gang member, but his lawyer says federal officials forced him to admit to the affiliation, which he denies, Buzzfeed is reporting. ICE called Ramirez a “risk to public safety,” although he has no criminal record, CNN reported.
Medina is known as a “dreamer” – those people brought to the United States illegally as child and who have not ever known another country than America, in many cases.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Federal Magistrate Judge Has Ordered Federal Officials to Defend the Arrest
Buzzfeed reported that a judge, James Donohue, has intervened and “has ordered officials to defend the arrest of an undocumented immigrant who has protection from deportation.”
Ramirez is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, according to Buzzfeed. You can read the legal complaint against ICE here:
The complaint alleges that Ramirez was detained “without justification” on February 10. His detention “breaks the promise” made to him under DACA – that he can live and work in the U.S., says the complaint. An agent told Medina he could be deported and detained because he was not “born in this country,” the complaint says, but it argues the detention was unconstitutional.
A protest has ignited in support of Ramirez.
KIRO 7 describes DACA as an Obama program that defers “removal action against an individual for a certain period of time, covering certain people who were brought to the U.S. at a young age. In order to apply, individuals had to provide the government with personal information, pay a fee, and submit to a background check.”
2. ICE Claimed Ramirez Admitted Being a Gang Member but the Dreamer’s Lawyer Says That’s Inaccurate
Buzzfeed quoted an ICE spokeswoman as saying Ramirez was detained because he is a “self-admitted gang member” but said his lawyers are denying that account, saying he was forced to “falsely admit affiliation” under pressure from federal authorities.
The Associated Press quoted the lawyer as saying of Ramirez, “While in custody, he was repeatedly pressured by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation.”
ICE is still calling Ramirez a “gang member.”
The New York Times quoted the ICE spokeswoman as saying, “Ramirez – a self-admitted gang member – was encountered at a residence in Des Moines, Washington, during an operation targeting a prior-deported felon.”
3. Ramirez Came to the United States at Age 7 & Has a Work Permit Under DACA
According to the New York Times, Ramirez came to the United States at age 7, has a work permit through DACA, a job, and a young child.
The complaint against ICE says that Ramirez recently moved to Washington from California to get more lucrative employment to support his 3-year-old son. He previously attended school in California and has worked long hours to support his family, the complaint says.
KIRO 7 reported that Ramirez “is the father of a U.S. citizen, who has twice been granted deferred action and an employment authorization card under DACA. The complaint shows a copy of his latest DACA renewal, from May 5, 2016, which shows it is in effect for two years following that date.”
The TV station says Ramirez’ only previous court entry was a minor speeding ticket.
Ramirez is receiving some support from politicians.
CNN reported that authorities had gone to Ramirez’ father’s house to arrest the father. According to CNN, DACA was designed to protect Dreamers from deportation.
4. ICE Has Been Rounding up Undocumented Immigrants But Stressed They Mostly Have Criminal Records
ICE raids were widely reported in multiple states, including California and Texas. Donald Trump has tweeted that the raids fulfilled a campaign promise to get illegal immigrants who commit crimes out of the country.
ICE said in a news release that the recent raids are targeted and focused on “public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, and individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who re-entered the country after being deported and immigration fugitives ordered deported by federal immigration judges.” Such targeted raids also occurred under Barack Obama.
Protests have ignited at some of the scenes of raids, such as in Mesa, Arizona, where a mother was detained because she had a felony conviction.
5. Trump Had Previously Indicated Sympathy For Dreamers
According to CBS News, Trump last year “expressed sympathy for the more than 740,000 people in the DACA program, which started in 2012.”
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” he told Time Magazine back then.