DACA recipient detained

Last week we learned that García De Rayos, a 35-year mother of two teenagers who had been living in the U.S. for over two decades, was deported after she attended her semi-annual check-in with immigration authorities. She used a fake Social Security number in 2008 leading to a felony charge. Even though she was deemed no risk, had two children who were US citizens, had lived in the US for two decades, and did everything required of her in terms of making things right with immigration authorities, she was deported to Mexico.

Yesterday we learned that Daniel Ramirez Medina was detained by US immigration officials when they went looking for his father. There was an arrest warrant out for his father. Daniel is 23-years old, has a child who is a US citizen, and is covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. His arrest and deportation to Mexico would be the first DACA recipient known to be arrested and deported.

At this point, there are conflicting stories about what has happened. According to this Reuters report from last night, Daniel did nothing wrong. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.According to the story I read last night, he told authorities that he was legally in the country and that he had a work permit. According to that article as well, authorities said that the work permit didn’t matter. He was not born in the US and therefore they were detaining him. That would be horrible.

According to this morning’s updated Reuters story, however, the authorities are saying that he was arrested because of his gang affiliation.

Ramirez was a “self-admitted gang member,” said Rose Richeson, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in a statement.

“ICE officers took Mr Ramirez into custody based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety.”

Richeson declined to elaborate further on how ICE established the man was a member of a gang.

Dettmer said 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,” said Dettmer. “The statement issued tonight by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not accurate.”

Ramirez, who has no criminal record according to court papers filed in his case, was taken into custody last week at his father’s home in Seattle by ICE officers.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s a little too early to say what happened given the few articles that I have come across. However, the fact that someone with no record would self-admit to being a gang member to immigration authorities strikes me as far-fetched. It’s not clear that saying one is a member of a gang (without any additional details) is grounds for detention and deportation.

With last week’s deportation of Rayos (a woman attending her semi-annual check-in) and the arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina (a young man with DACA protection), the early message from life under the Trump administration is that no one is protected.

DACA recipients, undocumented immigrants, refugees, green card holders, immigrants with work permits, parents of US citizens – it doesn’t matter. Whether that is the actual policy is somewhat a matter of debate but that is the loud and clear message three weeks into the new administration.