It’s still unclear if ICE officials meant to arrest a DACA participant last week, but it could be the first sign of expanding deportation efforts under the new administration.
By Kate Wheeling
Supporters of immigration reform protest outside the Supreme Court on November 20th, 2015. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Last week, authorities arrested Daniel Ramirez Medina, a Mexican immigrant brought into the United States illegally as a child who obtained a work permit during the Obama administration through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Ramirez filed a legal challenge to his detention on Monday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers took the 23 year old—who reportedly has no criminal record—into custody last week after arriving at his family’s residence in Seattle to arrest his father, Reuters reports. ICE raids in more than a dozen states across the country last week resulted in more than 680 illegal immigrants being detained, but Ramirez appears to be the only DACA recipient arrested so far.
“We are hoping this detention was a mistake,” Ethan Dettmer, one of the lawyers representing Ramirez in his challenge of his arrest, told Reuters.
The Obama administration deported roughly 2.4 million people between 2009 and 2015, focusing on criminals and threats to public safety or national security. ICE officials have yet to comment on the case, but if the Trump administration begins targeting DACA recipients as well, it would put some 713,300 program participants at risk. On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to roll back his predecessor’s executive orders on immigration, including the DACA program, though his team said more recently there are no “immediate” plans to dismantle the program.
Should they decide to decimate DACA, the names and addresses of program participants collected by the government could be used against any immigrant.