Judge Chastises ICE For Lying About DACA Recipient Being A Gang Member

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Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA recipient, was detained by ICE agents in 2017. They violated his due process rights and lied about him being in a gang.

A federal judge chastised Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials earlier this week, calling them out for violating an immigrant’s due process rights as well as blatantly lying about him being a gang member.

Daniel Ramirez Medina, a recipient of the still-enforced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that began under former President Barack Obama, was detained by ICE officials in February 2017 in his home near Seattle, Washington. Despite him being a recipient of the DACA waiver, which President Donald Trump would attempt to end in September of that year, Ramirez was still taken into custody and subjected to questioning at an immigration detention center.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez on Tuesday ruled that Ramirez’s due process rights (which undocumented immigrants are still entitled to having respected) were clearly violated by the actions of ICE officials.

At several points in his detention, Ramirez was denied due process rights. When he told agents he was a DACA recipient, for example, they simply replied to him, “It doesn’t matter because you weren’t born in this country.”

But the judge went beyond the scope of that argument, and openly voiced disapproval and admonishment for what ICE had done.

ICE officials, for instance, insisted that Ramirez was a gang member and used that assumption as a means to try to deport him (recipients of DACA can be deported if they are serious criminals). Yet the evidence for his gang affiliation was flimsy, at best, relying on a tattoo Ramirez has that pays respect to his birthplace (and which experts agree bears no gang symbols whatsoever).

The judge also noted that ICE agents apparently erased portions of a written statement made by Ramirez, in which he insisted he wasn’t a gang member, in order to make it appear like he admitted to being a part of one.

The violation of Ramirez’s due process alone was repulsive on its own. Yet Martinez, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, said he was disgusted by the tactics ICE took in order to try and deport Ramirez.

“Most troubling to the Court is the continued assertion that Mr. Ramirez is gang-affiliated, despite providing no evidence specific to Mr. Ramirez to the Immigration Court in connection with his administrative proceedings, and offering no evidence to this Court to support its assertions four months later,” Martinez wrote in his opinion.

It is indeed troubling — and warrants further examination of the agency itself. Knowing that this example of evidence tampering and violation of due process occurred means that it’s possible more violations against immigrants are happening across the country.

These incidents wouldn't be taking place if Trump wasn't so insistent upon treating immigrants as subhuman. His administration is doing untold damage to families across America, and it appears to be for blatantly racist reasons.

As Americans, we should hold ourselves up to higher standards of decency and fairness. Yet with Trump in charge, that standard seems to have flown out the window. 

 Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

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