The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program faces yet another threat of being repealed, putting the fate of its undocumented immigrant beneficiaries, commonly known as “DREAMers,” into question. This comes in the wake of the controversial arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina despite his temporary permission to live and work in the country under DACA, making him another casualty of the Trump administration’s intensified crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
Enacted under the Obama administration in 2012, DACA is an executive action ensuring deferred action for particular undocumented immigrants who had entered the U.S. as children. “Deferred action” refers to a limited immigration discretionary benefit released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granting undocumented immigrants in certain removal conditions permission to apply for temporary employment permits in the U.S. and even driver’s licenses.
In the past few weeks, Immigration and Custom (ICE) has conducted a series of broad, sweeping raids on immigrant communities, detaining immigrants with previous criminal records and immigration charges. Yet the raids have also rounded up immigrants with no criminal charge to their name.
Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant, was a casualty in these raids, despite being a DREAMer and having a temporary permit to stay and work in the country legally. ICE agents detained him when they were at his home to arrest his father, initiating deportation proceedings based on his alleged gang affiliation.
In a preliminary hearing, Ramirez’s lawyers argued that immigration officials drew up his gang ties despite not having enough evidence to prove such allegations. They dispute that Ramirez has complied with all DACA requirements and is continuing his studies in the country. Furthermore, his alleged gang affiliations now put him at risk for revocation of DACA relief.
Despite these arguments, a federal magistrate on Friday refused to release Ramirez, with U.S. Magistrate Judge James Donohue ordering him to appear in an immigration court for a bond hearing.
Ramirez has since been ordered to appear for a bond hearing before an immigration judge, required by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Donohue to be held within one week. They state that “not a single piece of evidence” was found to indisputably charge Ramirez as a gang member, noting that he had already gone through two complete background checks as stipulated in DACA’s vetting protocols.
Justice Department Attorney Jeffrey Robins did not respond to the disputed facts of Ramirez’s attorneys but argued that jurisdiction requires Ramirez to present these arguments in an immigration court.
On the other hand, Judge Donahue did not rule on jurisdiction concerning Ramirez’s civil rights claims and his upcoming hearing on March 8. “I realize people in similar situations as Mr. Ramirez want answers,” Donohue said, adding that the best place for these issues is on a federal, and not an immigration court.
If you or a loved one is a beneficiary of DACA and is concerned about your immigration status, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to talk to immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.