Photojournalist detained by ICE, Amtrak raid in Montana

A 28-year-old photojournalist and DACA recipient was detained in Montana Monday by border patrol officers as he was traveling from Seattle to Williston, North Dakota on Amtrak. Despite the fact that he has an outstanding deportation order, ICE decided to let him go.

Wait. I thought that all ICE agents are monsters who live for the opportunity to deport illegal aliens. That’s the narrative from our moral betters in the Democrat Party. Ibrahim Ramades Cetindemir Cordon inadvertently turned that canard around. After spending some time at a detention center, he was released Wednesday morning.

Cetindemir was detained under the Immigration and Nationality Act 212, inadmissible aliens, and 237, deportable aliens, for an outstanding deportation order for Cetindemir from 2014. The order was from overstaying his visa in 2014 before he was granted DACA status, Cetindemir told the Billings Gazette. Since then he has renewed his DACA status in 2016 and in 2018.

In his case, Cetindemir entered the United States at the age of 13 with his mother and younger sister in 2012 after traveling from Guatemala. His visa expired and a deportation order was issued. Before that order was carried out, though, Cetindemir was granted DACA status. Currently, his DACA status is set to expire in 2020. He has no criminal record. He works as a freelance photographer based in North Dakota. His work has appeared in Outdoor Magazine, Matador Network, Patagonia, REI and other outlets.

Cetindemir was first questioned by border patrol during a routine Amtrak stop in Havre, Montana. The train had to remain on schedule and continued on to the town of Malta. At the Malta stop border patrol again entered the train and questioned Cetindemir. He showed the officers both his driver’s license and his work permit. He told them he is a DACA recipient. The border patrol officers arrested him and held him in Malta.

He thought his DACA status was his get out of jail free card. Until the final decision was made, though, he was told he would be deported.

Once in custody he said border patrol told him he would be deported and that he wouldn’t be able to speak to a lawyer or judge. It wasn’t until he was booked into jail that his situation started to sink in.

He was transferred Tuesday afternoon to Cascade County Detention Center in Great Falls. He arrived just after 3 p.m., and the jail had him under an “immigration hold,” according to Cascade County Cpl. Freiling and the ICE detainee database. (The corporal refused to give his first name).

“It was a bit nerve-wracking walking into jail because I didn’t know what to expect,” Cetindemir said. “Jail was not a pleasant place, (but) it wasn’t a really negative experience. If anything I learned from it.”

So, it looks like to me that after being questioned at the first stop in Havre the border patrol officers probably checked him out and found the deportation order. They arranged for Cetindemir to be picked up in Malta and let ICE figure out if he’d be deported or not. In his case, ICE decided to release him, probably because of his clean record and employment status.

There was a social media campaign going on during the time he was detained. A friend in Seattle let him know of the support he was receiving after he published a Reddit post with a plea for help. A YouTube video taken by a fellow train passenger was published, too. (There is always a video.) A Facebook group conducted an organized effort of phone calls to border patrol, immigration lawyers, and local organizations who might be able to help Cetindemir.

This young man’s story is a good example of why the dehumanization of border patrol officers and ICE agents is so wrong. Cetindemir has been allowed to remain in America because of President Obama’s amnesty program for young illegal aliens. Other nations would not allow such a policy to go into effect. He is living the American Dream though he cut in line to illegally enter our country. Now a valid deportation order is being ignored. How is any of this proof that those working to secure our borders are abusing those they detain? He’s fortunate he was detained in Montana instead of Texas or Arizona. The southern border is overwhelmed with those trying to do the same thing he did as a 13-year-old. Remember Centindemir’s story the next time you hear the far left demand that ICE be abolished. Most of all, his story points to the legitimacy of the anger felt towards illegal aliens by the immigrants who did it the legal way.

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