Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary Daniel Ramirez Medina on Wednesday was released after two months in an immigrant detention facility.
Immigration Judge John Odell granted bond to Ramirez after he testified for about 40 minutes during his immigration bond hearing. The 23-year-old posted the $15,000 bond on Wednesday.
Ramirez’s case made national headlines because, as a DACA recipient, he was supposed to be protected against detainment and deportation. Ramirez didn’t meet any of the Trump administration’s priorities for deportation: He hadn’t been convicted of a criminal offense, he didn’t have an unresolved charge of a criminal offense, and he hadn’t committed acts constituting a chargeable criminal office.
However, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers appeared at Ramirez’s home on February 10 to detain his father as part of Operation Cross Check, a series of nationwide immigration sweeps, Ramirez became one of nearly 700 undocumented immigrants detained that week.
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“I’m so happy to be reunited with my family today and can’t wait to see my son. This has been a long and hard 46 days, but I’m so thankful for the support that I’ve gotten from everyone who helped me and for the opportunity to live in such an amazing country,” Ramirez said in a statement. “I know that this isn’t over, but I’m hopeful for the future, for me, and for the hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers who love this country like I do.”
ICE officials asserted that Ramirez confessed to having gang ties. ICE took him into custody because of this alleged admission. Ramirez’s DACA status was immediately revoked. Ramirez said the questioning about gang affiliation did not happen until after he was arrested, and his attorneys claimed that ICE officials altered a document Ramirez submitted requesting a transfer out of his unit at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. The assertion that someone is in a gang as reason to detain them indefinitely is one that ICE uses regularly, advocates told Rewire.
Ramirez’s case sparked larger conversations about criminality amid President Trump’s moves to criminalize all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Undocumented immigrants without criminal records are being taken into ICE custody in increasingly suspect ways and since Ramirez’s detainment, four other DACA recipients, widely known as “Dreamers,” have been taken into ICE custody: 19-year-old Josue Romero of San Antonio, Texas; 25-year-old Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez of Portland, Oregon; 22-year-old Jesus Alonso Arreola Robles of Los Angeles; and 22-year-old Daniela Vargas in Jackson, Mississippi.
Vargas on March 1 spoke at an immigration press conference about the detainment of her brother and father, both of whom were taken into ICE custody as part of Trump’s immigration raids. Upon leaving the press conference, the car Vargas was in was pulled over by ICE agents and she was taken into custody. Vargas has since been released.
In a press release about Ramirez’s release, Luis Cortes, a member of the DACA recipient’s legal team, said the judge’s decision to grant bond was affirmation Ramirez “does not pose any risk to public safety.” But Ramirez’s case is not over. The constitutionality of the DACA recipient’s arrest and detention is under review.
“Like the three-quarters of a million Dreamers in this country, Daniel was brought to the United States as a child and knows no other home,” said Mark Rosenbaum, another member of Ramirez’s legal team, in a statement. “This is an important first step toward justice for Daniel.”