“Dreamer” Risks Losing DACA Status Over Gang Affiliation

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. on February 9, 2017. Courtesy Bryan Cox/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via REUTERS

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have detained a 23-year-old Mexican man who was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child and granted a work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by the Obama administration, according to a lawsuit challenging the detention in a Seattle federal court.

ICE officers took “Dreamer” Daniel Ramirez-Medina into custody during an immigration enforcement raid at his father’s home in Seattle last Friday.

The Washington Examiner reported that it is the first known case of agents taking a non-U.S. citizen into custody who had legal permission from the former administration to remain in the U.S., which has prompted outrage among immigrant advocacy groups.

The Department of Homeland Security is pushing back against immigrant groups and defense lawyers who argue that federal immigration officers did not have legal authority to detain a DACA recipient.

Ethan Dettmer, one of the lawyers representing Ramirez-Medina, said he is not aware of any other DACA recipient who has been arrested. He added, “We are hoping this detention was a mistake.”

Spokeswoman Rose Richeson of ICE said in a statement that Ramirez-Medina was a “self-admitted gang member” and he was taken into custody “based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety.”

Richeson declined to comment on how ICE established the man was a member of a gang, says Reuters.

Ramirez-Medina’s lawyer said his client “unequivocally denies” being in a gang. “While in custody, he was repeatedly pressured by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation,” he said. “The statement issued tonight by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not accurate.”

It has also been reported that Ramirez-Medina has no criminal record according to court papers filed in his case.

On Wednesday evening, the Department of Homeland Security released a press statement in response to the denied claims, asserting that federal officials had a right to remove Ramirez-Medina:

“Under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, aliens granted deferred action from deportation who are subsequently found to pose a threat to national security or public safety may have their deferred action terminated at any time and DHS may seek their removal from the United States.”

This includes those who have been arrested or convicted of certain crimes or those who are associated with criminal gangs who have not yet been convicted of any crimes.

The report states that an estimated 1,500 DACA recipients have had their status revoked due to a criminal conviction, gang affiliation, or criminal conviction related to a gang affiliation.

The lawsuit requests that Ramirez-Medina is immediately released and not rearrested. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

H/T: Washington Examiner


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