U.S. authorities detained a Mexican immigrant protected by an Obama-era program that defers deportation for thousands of young illegal immigrants known as "dreamers," the man's lawyers claimed in a court filing this week.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, was arrested in his father's Seattle home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers Friday. Northwest Immigrants Rights Project Legal Director Matt Adams told The Associated Press that agents were at the home to arrest the man’s father and that they took both men into custody.
The arrest was first reported by Reuters.
Ramirez Medina challenged his detention in a Seattle federal court Monday, arguing that the federal government violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
"The agents who arrested and questioned Mr. Ramirez were aware that he was a DACA recipient, yet they informed him that he would be arrested, detained, and deported anyway, because he was not 'born in this country," his attorneys wrote in the filing.
ICE spokesperson Rose Richeson said in a statement that Ramirez Medina was a "self-admitted gang member" and a "risk to public safety."
Mark Rosenbaum, one of Ramirez Medina's attorneys, responded by claiming that his client had been "repeatedly pressured by [ICE] agents to falsely admit affiliation," and called Richeson's statement "inaccurate."
Ramirez Medina is being held in Tacoma ahead of removal proceedings before an immigration judge with the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review.
According to the court filing, Ramirez Medina, who came to the U.S. as a child, has a work permit under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The documents say that Ramirez's DACA status was renewed last year.
Ethan Dettmer, another of Ramirez Medina's attorneys, told Reuters that he did not know of any other DACA recipient who was arrested in a series of recent raids carried out by ICE.
The Department of Homeland Security said Monday that 680 people were arrested in roundups last week targeting immigrants living illegally in the United States, a figure far below the totals of similar raids conducted under the Obama administration.
President Donald Trump has promised a stepped-up campaign to find and deport criminal immigrants and others living in the U.S. illegally.
During the Obama administration, ICE agents generally arrested wanted immigration fugitives and convicted criminals. Last week's arrests included immigrants whose only offense was an immigration violation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.