TACOMA, Wash. – We’ve been seeing ICE raids across the country and now one in Seattle is raising some eyebrows. Friday, immigration officials picked up Daniel Ramirez Medina, while executing a warrant for his dad. The 23-year-old has no criminal record, but ICE agents say he has admitted to being a gang member and he’s a danger to the community.
Daniel Ramirez is a DACA recipient. He was born in Mexico and came to the United States at the age of seven illegally. Daniel Ramirez Medina, has twice been granted deferred action and employment authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, his lawyers said. The program, announced in 2012, is meant to temporarily shield qualified individuals from deportation.
Monday, he filed a challenge to his detention in Seattle federal court, arguing his constitutional rights were violated.
“We don’t want people to be alarmed, but we do want people to be aware of their rights,” said Casa Latina Executive Director Marcos Martinez.
Over the last week, U.S. immigration officers have arrested more than 680 illegal immigrants. The government is calling them routine raids. One case out of Seattle is garnishing national attention.
“Immigration enforcement came to pick up his dad and then picked up Mr. Ramirez at the same time,” said Martinez.
Ramirez has no criminal record and is protected under former President Barack Obama's DACA program.
“It gives them opportunity to study and work in this country. It gives them a two-year permit which can be renewed,” said Martinez.
But Rose Richeson, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson, released this statement:
“Mr. Ramirez—a self-admitted gang member—was encountered at a residence in Des Moines, Washington, during an operation targeting a prior-deported felon. He was arrested Feb. 10 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and transferred to the Northwest Detention Center to await the outcome of removal proceedings before an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review.
"ICE officers took Mr. Ramirez into custody based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety.”
Mark Rosenbaum, counsel for Daniel Ramirez Medina, issued the following statement: “Mr. Ramirez unequivocally denies being in a gang. While in custody, he was repeatedly pressured by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation. The statement issued tonight by Ms. Richeson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is inaccurate.”
Protesters rallied outside the Tacoma ICE detention facility demanding Daniel Ramirez Medina be released immediately. A group called Detention Resistance says if it can happen to Daniel, it can happen to anyone.
Q13 News spoke with attorneys with the Hawkins Law Group and Barrera Legal group, both based out of Seattle, who have joined Daniel Ramirez Medina’s legal team. They join at least two other out of state firms in his defense. They declined an on-camera interview but said they did meet with Daniel Tuesday night and that they appreciate of the support from the community.