SEATTLE — The detention of a local man by ICE agents is getting national attention.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, a Mexican citizen, has been locked up since Friday at the federal Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma for deportation proceedings.
Medina, who was brought to the country when he was 7, has a work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers.” The program was established in 2012 by President Barack Obama to allow those brought to the country while young to attend school and work.
“We are not aware of any case in the United States where a DACA beneficiary has been brought into immigration proceedings like this, we have heard of isolated mistakes but they have been corrected right away,” Medina’s attorney, Mark Rosenbaum, said.
He emphasized that his client is not a gang member, as ICE officials have alleged.
“He has no criminal record, there are no criminal charges pending against him,” Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum says Medina has gone through the DACA process twice, vetted thoroughly each time by the Department of Homeland Security.
“As I am sure you know, that is a rigorous examination, it’s not like walking into a convenience store and filling out a lottery card,” Rosenbaum said.
“It’s very thorough, there is a long process,” DACA recipient Dulce Siguenza said.
Siguenza says it took her months to get a permit to work in the United Statse legally after graduating from UW.
She's keeping a close eye on Medina's case for herself and the estimated 750,000 Dreamers in this country.
“There is fear, ICE and Trump administration going after them,” Siguenza said.
Siguenza says she's hearing from other dreamers worried about their future but for right now she is not panicked.
“I don’t think that ICE is going after DACA recipients,” Siguenza said.
She believes Medina's case is an isolated one. Federal authorities were initially after Medina's father on Friday when they entered his Des Moines home. The father is an undocumented immigrant with a criminal history who had been deported before, ICE said.
That’s when ICE came across Medina at their Des Moines home. The attorney says his brother is also a DACA recipient but he was not arrested.
ICE says Medina admitted to being in a gang, but lawyers for Medina said that was not true.
Immigrant rights groups and King County Executive Dow Constantine spoke out on Wednesday in support of the young man saying ICE made a mistake.
“His only brush with the law was a speeding ticket,” Constantine said.
Constantine announced a onetime $750,000 legal fund for refugees and immigrants to get free representation and legal advice.
“They have every right to be afraid, a fear that federal agents will come into their home, take away someone else who has a legal right to be,” Constantine said.
Routine roundups by ICE occurred under the Obama administration, Q13 News asked Constantine and immigrant rights groups if they have statistics showing that detentions have increased. At Wednesday's press conference. they did not have the stats to show an increase in our area.
Medina’s attorneys have filed a lawsuit seeking his release. A hearing is scheduled in federal court on Friday.