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Seattle DACA Recipient Remains in Detention Center

Auditi Guha

Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA recipient who came to the United States at age 7, was swept up in President Trump's nationwide immigration raids.

A 24-year-old Dreamer detained for deportation in Seattle will not be released following a recommendation this week from a federal judge who said the case should be expedited and reviewed in federal District Court.

Daniel Ramirez Medina is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient—the Obama-era immigration policy that let young undocumented immigrants who meet specific requirements receive a work permit and authorization to stay in the United States, renewable every two years.

Brought into the United States from Mexico at age 7, he first received DACA in 2014, had it renewed last May, and should be protected from deportation until May 2018.

U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue refused to release Ramirez Tuesday, denying both a U.S. Department of Justice motion to dismiss the case from U.S. District Court and Ramirez’s attorneys’ request for conditional release, even though Ramirez has temporary permission to live and work in the country, according to an NBC affiliate.

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Donohue had requested an expedited bond hearing before an immigration judge after the arrest, but Ramirez’s attorneys refused, insisting his case be heard in U.S. District Court, not immigration court.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids have ramped up nationwide since President Trump’s January 25 executive order signaling his immigration priorities with nearly 700 undocumented immigrants detained even before the memos were released. The detained were characterized as “criminal aliens,” “illegal re-entrants,” and “immigration fugitives,” but Ramirez doesn’t meet any of these criteria. Yet he has been in a prison-like detention center in Tacoma, Washington, since February 10.

He was captured on immigration charges a month after he moved to Seattle from California’s Central Valley to find a better job, he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

“It has been difficult to keep a positive outlook,” he wrote from the detention center. “Before this, I never thought that I would end up in a news headline or have my name become a hashtag on social media. I was supposed to be one of the lucky ones.”

Agents told him that a tattoo on his arm means he is in a gang. He wrote in the op-ed that he got that tattoo when he was 18 to honor La Paz, Mexico, the city of his birth.

A court date has not yet been set, but Donohue wants the case to be expedited. Western Washington U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez will rule on Donohue’s report and recommendationRamirez’s legal team sees that as a significant legal victory.

“The full extent of the liberty interest, if any, held by petitioner by virtue of his DACA status is not yet fully defined, but will be through these proceedings,” Donohue wrote, according to Politico.

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