Friday morning, a federal judge in Seattle will decide the immediate fate of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23 year old undocumented immigrant whom federal police arrested last week even though he was granted a two year work permit by the Obama administration last year.
Ramirez, currently under lock and key at a federal detention facility in Tacoma, is a young father who was brought to the U.S. illicitly by his parents from Mexico when he was seven years old, according to the lawsuit filed by his lawyer (hat tip to SCC Insight). A spokesperson for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says that Ramirez admitted to being a gangmember, according to Reuters. The accusation against Ramirez echoes President Trump’s campaign rhetoric, in which he promised to cleanse America of “bad hombres.” Ramirez’s lawyer says Ramirez “unequivocally denies” gang membership, and says federal agents pressured him to make a false confession. According to the lawsuit, Ramirez has no criminal record.
The case may set a precedent for how much discretion Trump has over deporting people. Ramirez is cleared to continue working in the U.S. under former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under DACA, people who were brought to the U.S. illicitly as children and who can demonstrate that they are not a national security or public safety risk can apply for deferred prosecution for two years at a time. To apply for DACA, of course, undocumented immigrants have to identify themselves to the federal government in the first place, so now the Trump administration has a list of admitted undocumented immigrants. If the judge finds that Trump can deport Ramirez without any judicial review, it will mean that other DACA applicants are also at risk. The Department of Homeland Security says that it has already detained hundreds of immigrants, according to Democracy Now.