A 23-year-old immigrant from Mexico, who moved to the United States at the age of 7, has been arrested by federal authorities, even though he has no criminal record.
Daniel Ramirez Medina was granted a work permit by the Obama administration and was therefore legally employed. He falls under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, which was announced in 2012 and aims to prevent qualified individuals from deportation.
The young man was taken into custody from his father’s house in Seattle, Washington, last week, where he was asleep. Federal authorities questioned him about whether he was in the country legally to which Medina replied: “Yes, I have a work permit.”
“It doesn’t matter, because you weren’t born in this country,” an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official reportedly said. Although the officials had Medina’s wallet, which contained his work permit, they questioned him further and took him to a detention center in Tacoma.
Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell's office has claimed she is working with fellow Washington Sen. Patty Murray to look into Medina’s arrest. "It is unacceptable that DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and have grown up and gone to school here, are being detained," Cantwell wrote in an e-mail.
Speaking to Reuters, Medina’s lawyers said they are “hoping this detention was a mistake.” They have filed a lawsuit in the federal court claiming that their client is being “detained without justification.”
Rose Richeson, an ICE spokesperson, is claiming that Medina is a “self-admitted gang member.” But Medina’s lawyers and legal advisers have denied these claims stating “he was repeatedly pressured by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation. The statement issued tonight by Ms. Richeson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is inaccurate."
The controversial arrest comes at a time when President Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border and deport the millions of people living in the United States illegally. Medina will appear in a court hearing on Feb 17. Meanwhile, the future of many other “DREAMers” is also at stake — thanks to Trump’s indiscriminate crackdown.
Outrageous! Arrest of Dreamer Ramirez Medina by ICE, per Trump policy. No criminal history!— Zoe Zimmermann (@ZoeZimmermann) February 15, 2017
20+ people are at the Northwest Detention Center on Tacoma's Tideflats to protest Daniel Ramirez-Medina's detention. pic.twitter.com/LJ5MztEeeW— Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker) February 15, 2017
#FreeDaniel this breaks my heart , I seriously don't understand why people just love separating family when they did nothing wrong— Fernando👨🏽🌾 (@panchoo_fernie) February 15, 2017
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters