Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Trump
On Friday, Daniel Ramirez-Medina was arrested at his father’s home in Seattle. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had showed up to arrest his father in their latest round of raids. When the ICE agents encountered Ramirez-Medina, they asked if he was legally in the country. He told officers he had a work permit under DACA and handed over his wallet with the work permit, but after checking it, the agents said it did not matter because he was not born in this country (Medina is originally from Mexico.) He has been detained and ICE agents are threatening to deport him.
Reuters is reporting that Ramirez-Medina may be the first DACA-protected immigrant to be arrested under Trump. Trump pledged during his campaign to reduce immigration, making promises ranging from the construction of a wall on the Mexican border to his executive order blocking entry from seven Muslim-majority countries. Increased deportations were also part of his plans. He also vowed to repeal DACA during the campaign, although he also backpedaled on that and promised to “work something out” for immigrants who arrived as children and have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives.
He has also said he would focus on deporting immigrants who had committed crimes. Of course, that does little for Ramirez-Medina, since ICE agents are insisting that he is an admitted gang member. Ramirez-Medina has no criminal record, and his lawyers say that ICE agents have been pressuring him to admit to gang ties without any real evidence for the claim. In fact, his lawyers also claim that ICE officers have doctored documents to try and prove a gang affiliation.
Quartz recently reported that immigration courts are particularly ripe for manipulation by the Trump administration. They are overseen by the Attorney General, which is now Jeff Sessions, and he has the authority to give courts guidance on how to interpret and enforce immigration law. This means that, unlike state and federal courts, which operate independently, immigration courts are under the power of the executive branch of government. This renders them much more prone to manipulation by whatever administration is in power.
The outcome of Ramirez-Medina’s case could be a sign of what is to come for many immigrants who received protection under DACA (also known as DREAMers) or other programs started before the Trump administration. Based on what we have seen so far, things don’t look promising.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
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