SEATTLE – Daniel Ramirez, the first so-called "Dreamer" arrested during the Trump Administration, has been granted bond and could be released from detention as early as Wednesday.
Immigration Judge John Odell set bond at $15,000 after a hearing inside the immigration detention facility in Tacoma, Washington. The case has drawn national attention because Ramirez was arrested February 10th even though he has no criminal record and twice qualified for benefits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by President Obama.
Government lawyers argued against granting Ramirez bond saying he was a threat to the community due to his alleged gang ties. But on the witness stand, Ramirez, who was brought to the U.S. illegally from Mexico when he was 7 years old, repeatedly denied he had ever been in a gang.
“Today the judge affirmed that Daniel does not pose any risk to public safety,” said Luis Cortes, Ramirez’s lawyer. “We are thrilled he will soon be home with his family.”
The victory could only be temporary. Ramirez is still going through deportation proceedings and has his next hearing May 11th. His legal team is not contesting Ramirez’s deportation, but did file a lawsuit in federal district court alleging his arrest was unconstitutional because at the time he should have been protected under DACA.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement revoked Ramirez’s DACA status shortly after he was detained. ICE agents say Ramirez admitted to being in a gang in California and hanging out with Paisas, a gang FBI officials say has ties to Washington State and seven other states.
Ramirez says he only told agents he knew gang members, but never participated in any gang activity.
The contested details of his arrest are at the heart of the lawsuit brought by Ramirez against the Department of Homeland Security. His lawyers argue that agents should have stopped questioning Ramirez as soon as they learned he was a DACA recipient, unless they had probable cause he had committed a crime. ICE contends DACA does not afford recipients permanent legal status. The benefit of being able to live and work in the U.S. can be pulled at the discretion of immigration officials for almost any misstep, including ties to gangs.
Federal Magistrate James Donohue ruled he will hear the Ramirez case as it regards to the legality of the arrest. But Donohue also ruled he would not order the immediate release of Ramirez, because while he is going through deportation proceedings only an immigration judge can set conditions of his release. Ironically, Ramirez could be released on bond, eventually win his case in District Court and still face the possibility of being deported.
His lawyers believe that won’t happen. They’re seeking clarity on what legal protections the DACA program give recipients. There are currently around 750,000 DACA recipients in the United States.