Sen. Dick Durbin Reacts to Detention of Illegal Immigrant ‘Dreamer’ in Washington

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Foreign nationals were arrested during the week of February 6, 2017, during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens. Full credit: Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is responding to the detention of a 23-year-old man, in the U.S. illegally, but covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the executive order implement by President Obama, which provides deferred deportation action of immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children.

CNN reports that the man, Daniel Ramirez Medina, has twice been granted deferred action and employment authorization DACA, his lawyers said.  The case raises questions about what it could mean for “Dreamers”, illegal, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Ramirez came to the US from Mexico when he was 7 years old and became a DACA recipient in 2014 and renewed in 2016, according to court papers filed by his attorneys.

Immigration rights groups say they believe this may be the first time a Dreamer has been arrested without cause.

In response, Sen. Durbin issued a statement saying, “We do not know the details of this arrest but absent credible evidence of crime, DACA protects those who are enrolled, from deportation. We are in contact with (the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement) ICE for clarification of this detention. Thousands of DACA Dreamers fear that President Trump will ignore the protections promised by that executive order.  We are prepared to fight to protect our DACA Dreamers from harassment and deportation.”

However, this may be an isolated incident involving what ICE officials claim is a self-admitted gang member and a threat to public safety.  They tell CNN that the detention occurred while they were serving an arrest warrant for Ramirez’s father.

ICE said Ramirez was taken into custody “based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety.”
Rose Richeson, an ICE spokesperson, said, “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 February 10 by US 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.”

Mark Rosenbaum, counsel for Ramirez, disputed the ICE’s characterization in a statement: “Mr. Ramirez unequivocally denies being in a gang. While in custody, he was repeatedly pressured by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to falsely admit affiliation. The statement issued tonight by Ms. Richeson of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is inaccurate.”

For more details on the detention and its potential implications, click on the CNN story here.

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