SEATTLE (CN) – A 23-year-old Mexican immigrant authorized to work in the United States under former President Barack Obama’s “Dreamers” policy has filed a federal petition seeking his release after being arrested by immigration officials this past Friday.
Daniel Ramirez Medina was brought to the United States illegally as a child but had temporary permission to live and work under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known alternatively as the DACA or “Dreamers” program.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Ramirez when they were at his home to arrest his father, according to officials.
Ramirez is the first person covered under DACA taken into immigration custody, according to his attorneys. ICE spokeswoman Rose Richeson said Ramirez was arrested based on his “admitted gang affiliation” and because he is a public-safety risk.
“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,” Richeson said.
Ramirez’s attorney Mark Rosenbaum called ICE’s account “inaccurate” in a 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,” Rosenbaum said.
Ramirez’s petition was filed under seal. A status conference on Ramirez’s detention is scheduled for Feb. 17.