When Daniel Ramirez Medina was arrested in Seattle last Friday it quickly became national news because Medina is a “dreamer,” i.e. he is registered under President Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents had gone to a house in the Seattle suburbs to arrest Medina’s father but wound up arresting Daniel as well. Lawyers for Medina demanded that ICE explain its decision and today the agency did. From the Associated Press:
A Seattle area man detained by immigration agents despite his participation in a federal program to protect those brought to the U.S. illegally as children admitted to having gang ties and that he had been arrested previously, the U.S. Justice Department said in court documents filed Thursday.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, “stated ‘no, not no more,’ when asked if he is or has been involved with any gang activity,” the documents said.
Ramirez, who is Mexican and arrived in the U.S. at age 7, was asked by authorities who arrested him about a tattoo described in the documents as a “gang tattoo” and “responded that he ‘used to hang out with the Surenos in California,’ that he ‘fled California to escape from the gangs,’ and that he ‘still hangs out’ with” gang members in Washington state,” the documents added.
DACA is ostensibly an act of prosecutorial discretion which makes is relatively easy for its protection to be removed if someone is judged to be a threat to public safety. DHS published a statement on the arrest yesterday which reads in part:
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. Since the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012, approximately 1,500 recipients have had their deferred action terminated due to a criminal conviction, gang affiliation, or a criminal conviction related to gang affiliation.
The media has been reporting this as if it is something unprecedented, but it sounds as if this sort of thing has happened under the Obama administration many times before. Mark Rosembaum, Mr. Ramirez’ attorney, claims his client never made the statements in question calling them “wholly fabricated.” He also claims ICE misidentified his client’s tattoo.
Ramirez is at a detention center awaiting a decision from an immigration judge. Ramirez’ father, the target of the arrest, has been deported at least 8 times previously and has also served time in prison in Washington State for drug trafficking.