Civil rights lawyers have filed a lawsuit challenging the detention of a 23-year-old Mexican man who was picked up by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents last Friday, even though he's reportedly allowed to work in the US under the Obama administration's DACA policy, the Seattle Times reports.
Lawyers for Daniel Ramirez Medina—who is currently being held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, after ICE agents raided his father's house—say that this is the first time since Trump's election that someone protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, an executive order by Obama, has been taken into immigration custody. DACA protects those often referred to as "DREAMers"—undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.
During the raid, agents reportedly asked Medina, who has been in the US since he was seven, if he was here illegally, to which he responded that he had a work permit under DACA. He was then taken to a processing center and detained. However, an ICE spokeswoman says that Medina was taken into custody as a "self-admitted gang member."
"ICE officers took Mr. Ramirez into custody based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety," Rose Richeson, the ICE spokeswoman, said in a statement.
One of Medina's lawyers, Ethan Dettmer, denies that claim, arguing that ICE agents pressured Medina "to falsely admit affiliation." According to Reuters, the Obama administration recommended immigrants suspected of gang activity should only become deportation priorities if they have been convicted of a crime in connection to a gang. According to his court papers, Medina has no prior criminal record.
Donald Trump's hardline stance on immigration has many wondering how he plans to handle the roughly 750,000 DREAMers. When asked about it in an ABC interview, he responded, "They are here illegally. They shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody. We're going to have a very strong border."
Ramirez's lawsuit, which he filed in Seattle federal court Monday, argues that the government violated his constitutional rights and seeks his immediate release. He is also seeking an injunction that would keep the ICE from arresting him again. His hearing is scheduled for Friday.
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