After a week of raids that targeted nearly 700 immigrants across the country, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has reportedly gone into uncharted territory—arresting a Mexican immigrant who had been cleared to live and work in the U.S. under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Daniel Ramirez Medina was taken into custody in Seattle, WA, last week, Reuters reported, after ICE officials came to arrest his father (why ICE officers had come for his father remains unclear). A 23-year-old with no criminal history, Ramirez had been granted a permit to live and work legally in the U.S. under DACA, which specifically protects children who were brought to the U.S. by their undocumented parents. These young people, also known as DREAMers, named after the proposed DREAM act.
If Ramirez’s detention was intentional, he would be the first DACA recipient arrested under the Trump administration, an act that could signal further arrests of immigrants who had been considered, for the moment at least, legal residents of the U.S.
Just last month, President Donald Trump seemed to imply that protections would still apply to immigrants who were granted DACA, telling David Muir of ABC News that people “shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody.”
Now, Ramirez, who is still in custody, has filed a challenge against his detention, arguing that the government violated his constitutional rights by arresting him after he had previously been granted permission to stay in the United States.
In his lawsuit, Ramirez claims he had disclosed his DACA paperwork twice to ICE officers, once in his father’s home and a second time while in a processing center.
“It doesn’t matter, because you weren’t born in this country,” one of the agents reportedly said.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.
This post has been updated throughout.