USA arrests Mexican with protected status

A Seattle-area man who was brought to the US illegally as a child but was protected from deportation under a policy by President Barack Obama is suing the federal government over his arrest and detention last week. Ramirez, who has a 3-year-old American citizen son and no criminal record, had twice qualified for the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed him to work legally in the USA and should have stopped the feds from picking him up. He applied for and received DACA work status two years ago.

According to the complaint, Ramirez is the father of a USA citizen, who has twice been granted deferred action and an employment authorization card under DACA.

When ICE agents went to Ramirez's father's house in Seattle to arrest him on Friday, they encountered Ramirez and asked whether he was "legally here".

Ramirez told the officers about his work permit under DACA.

ICE agents appear to have "much broader discretion" to "take these kinds of actions", she said. "I do not blame the officers, they are doing what the guidance is telling them to do". The card identified him as a DACA beneficiary with a "C-33" code, reflecting work authorization.

Ramirez's detention detonated strong reactions from immigration advocates, especially in the wake of increased immigration raids over the past week and the deportation of Arizona resident Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was apprehended as she voluntarily complied with a yearly inspection at her local ICE headquarters. He has been placed in removal proceedings.

A court filing due Thursday morning could provide those answers. Indeed, his arrest itself likely violated his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures.

Neither accusal of a crime nor an arrest alone warrants deportation, but a conviction can include a formal judgment of guilt, a "no contest" plea, a guilty plea, or an admittance of facts sufficient to warrant a judge or jury to enter a finding of guilt-any of which can warrant deportation. Jayapal said Trump should order Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to "right this wrong - instead of putting his stamp of approval on deporting innocent young people who were brought here through no fault of their own, followed all the laws in signing up for DACA, and have not lived in the country they are being sent back to". This freaky dereliction of duty would seem to violate Ramirez's Fourth Amendment rights. But advocates have anxious that his administration could upend the DACA program and use personal data collected from applications to target scores of immigrants for deportation.

Such justification does not seem to exist.

Ramirez is a "self-admitted gang member", ICE spokesman Rose Richeson said in a statement released to the news media. His attorneys say he has denied being part of a gang, and that he was pressured by ICE to admit affiliation.

"Mr. Ramirez was not afforded notice of, or a hearing on, his arrest and detention, and there is no probable cause for his arrest", the petition says. "It's important to remember that the legal status of DACA recipients hasn't changed". Simply detaining him based on an unproven suspicion can not possibly comport with basic constitutional requirements.

Ramirez has now filed a complaint in federal court against his detention.

Earlier this week lawyers for Ramirez Median filed a lawsuit against the department of homeland security challenging his detention, prompting USA magistrate judge to order the government to formally justify his detention by Thursday morning.

While it appears that Ramirez wasn't targeted because of his DACA status, that protection wasn't enough to prevent him from getting arrested - and that has immigration advocates and attorneys anxious.

A spokeswoman for Ramirez' lawyers, Lara Bergthold, said Ramirez had previously worked as a farmworker in California before moving to Washington state in hopes of finding a better job. Donohue's questions evince a healthy skepticism toward ICE's startling claim of power.

  • Larry Hoffman