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A self-shot of Daniel Medina Ramirez.
Daniel Medina Ramirez; image courtesy of Daniel Medina Ramirez via AP.

An immigration judge in Washington ruled on Tuesday that Daniel Medina Ramirez could be released from detention, pending a deportation hearing.

Ramirez, 24, had been arrested and taken away to a detention center a month and a half ago. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents had shown up at his house to take his father, a convicted felon, into custody. However, a series of miscommunications and an allegedly falsified report led to Ramirez being put up for deportation instead.

Born in Mexico but brought up in the United States, Daniel Ramirez Medina is an enrollee in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to by its acronym, DACA. DACA is geared towards protecting individuals who were brought to American illegally as children. The program allows successful applicants to continue living and working in the United States.

Ramirez, as part of his acceptance into DACA, had passed two background checks and has no criminal record.

When ICE arrested and interrogated Ramirez, they said he’d claimed affiliation with a trans-national gang called the Surenos.

Court documents allege that Ramirez said he ‘used to hang out with the Surenos in California,’ and that he’d ‘fled’ the state to ‘escape the gangs.’ It continues to read that Ramirez had gone on record as saying he ‘still hangs out’ with gang members in Washington.

Mark Rosenbaum, Ramirez’s lawyer, says the reports lied.

“While utterly implausible and wholly fabricated, these claims still would not be sufficient evidence that Mr. Ramirez is a thread to the public safety or national security,” Rosenbaum said in a statement.

“He answered every question the government put to him,” the attorney continued. “He stayed true, and the government had no evidence whatsoever.

“We’re thrilled he’s getting out of a facility he never should have been in in the first place,” Rosenbaum said. “But he’s lost 45 days of his life. He’s been vilified by the government.”

Although U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez had declined to order Ramirez’s release, he did say that “many questions remain regarding the appropriateness of the government’s conduct” in arresting him.

A young man carrying a sign reading "Free Daniel - No Human is Illegal" stands in front of a crowd of supporters gathered outside a Seattle courthouse in protest of immigrant Daniel Medina Ramirez's detention.
Supporters of detained immigrant Daniel Medina-Ramirez gather in front of a Seattle courthouse; image courtesy of Greg Gilbert, The Seattle Times

Confusion had apparently arisen over one of Ramirez’s tattoos. Spelling “La Paz BCS” out across his wrist, ICE agents had seized the opportunity to portray the ink as evidence of the man’s criminal affiliations.

Rosenbaum and the rest of Ramirez’s legal team had a simpler explanation for the tattoo – rather than representing a tie to organized crime, it is, in fact, a homage to its holder’s birthplace. La Paz is a small city in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur which also serves as the district’s administrative center. ‘BCS’ is a common and conventional abbreviation for the state.

Ramirez’s bond was posted at $15,000, which his lawyers say will be paid.

They expect Daniel Medina Ramirez to be released as early as Wednesday morning.

Sources

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