A Seattle man enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was arrested last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in what his attorney believes is the first detainment of this nature since President Trump took office in January, Reuters reports.
DACA, started in 2012 by former President Barack Obama, grants recipients temporary permission to live and work legally in the United States, protecting 750,000 undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children, or "DREAMers." Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, came to the U.S. from Mexico in 2001 when he was 7, court documents say, and in 2013, he received a DACA card. In 2016, he was found not to be a threat to public safety, and his card was renewed.
Ramirez Medina was sleeping at his father's house when ICE officers came in to arrest his dad, Reuters reports; court documents do not make it clear why he was taken into custody. Officers allegedly asked Ramirez Medina if he was in the United States legally, and despite telling them about his DACA card, he was also arrested. While at the processing center in Seattle, Ramirez Medina said he told another officer about his card, and he was told it didn't matter because "you weren't born in this country," Reuters reports.
Ramirez Medina, who has no criminal record and is the father of a 3-year-old son, has filed a lawsuit seeking immediate release and an injunction forbidding the government from arresting him again, and has a hearing scheduled for Friday. His attorney said he is "hoping this detention was a mistake," and has not heard of any other DACA recipients being arrested. Trump said last month he was working on a policy to deal with DACA, and said while "they are here illegally," people "shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart."