US authorities have arrested an immigrant from Mexico who was brought to the United States illegally as a child and later given a work permit during the Obama administration in what could be the first detention of its kind under Donald Trump.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old with no criminal record, was taken into custody last week at his father’s home in Seattle by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) officers. The officers arrived at the home to arrest the man’s father, though court documents did not make clear the reason the father was taken into custody.
Ramirez, now in custody in Tacoma, Washington, was granted temporary permission to live and work legally in the United States under a program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or Daca, established in 2012 by Barack Obama, according to a court filing.
Trump has promised a crackdown on the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, most of whom come from Mexico and other Latin American countries. A move against Daca recipients like Ramirez would represent a significant broadening of immigration enforcement under Trump.
Ramirez filed a challenge to his detention in Seattle federal court on Monday, arguing that the government violated his constitutional rights because he had work authorization under the Daca program.
Trump campaigned on a promise to roll back Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but since assuming office he has kept his public comments on Daca vague.
In an interview with ABC News last month, Trump said his administration was devising a policy on how to deal with people covered by Daca. “They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. We’re going to have a very strong border,” Trump said at the time.
Under Daca, the government collected information including participants’ addresses that potentially could be used to locate and deport them if the program is reversed.
Ramirez was brought to the United States from Mexico in about 2001 when he was about seven, according to the lawsuit. The government granted him a Daca card in 2014 and renewed it in 2016, finding that he was no threat to public safety. He has a three-year-old son, according to the complaint.
Ramirez in his lawsuit is seeking his immediate release and an injunction forbidding the government from arresting him again. A hearing in the case has been scheduled for Friday.