Immigration Law

ICE detention of immigrant protected by deferred-deportation program violates due process, suit says

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Immigration law.

A law-abiding immigrant protected by former President Obama’s deferred deportation program should be released from immigration custody, according to a petition for habeas corpus.

Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, on Friday, even though he has not committed a crime and is authorized to work and live in the United States, according to the petition. Authorities reportedly encountered Medina when they went to Medina’s father’s home and arrested his father, although no details about his father’s arrest were available. The Los Angeles Times, the Guardian and Reuters have stories.

Ramirez’s detention may be the first arrest of an immigrant covered by Obama’s program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, according to the immigrant’s lawyers. The program allows immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children to remain and work in the United States.

Ramirez came to the United States when he was 7 years old. He was arrested on Friday after ICE agents arrested Ramirez’s father.

The Feb. 13 suit, filed in Seattle federal court, claims violation of Ramirez’s rights to due process and to be free from unlawful seizure.

“The agents who arrested and questioned Mr. Ramirez were aware that he was a DACA recipient, yet they informed him that he would be arrested, detained and deported anyway, because he was not ‘born in this country,’ ” according to the habeas petition.

Lawyers filing the petition on Ramirez’s behalf include University of California at Irvine law dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Gibson Dunn partner Theodore Boutrous Jr. and Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe. Public Counsel and the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project are also involved in the suit.

Lawyer Mark Rosenbaum of Public Counsel told the Guardian that the DACA program was an executive branch promise that those covered by the program would not be targeted for deportation. “We have no reason to believe that promise will be broken. This case should not see the inside of a courtroom,” he said.

ICE officials claim Ramirez is an admitted gang member who is eligible for deportation, but his lawyers say Ramirez was pressured to falsely admit gang membership. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle said the case is under review.

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