The American public is being asked to feed the fires of outrage for Daniel Ramirez Medina, who was arrested in Des Moines, Washington (about 18 miles south of Seattle) on Friday, while ICE was arresting Ramirez’s father. Immigration activists have seized on Ramirez’s case, making him the poster child of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation that was such a big part of the Obama Administration’s immigration policy. However, people would be wise to consider all the factors at play here before making a decision as to whether or not Ramirez should get to stay in the United States.
First of all, let’s remember what DACA’s full name really is – Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (emphasis mine). DACA does not promise immunity from arrest. From the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website:
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status. (emphasis mine)
Now, the Obama Administration clearly meant DACA to be a kind of backdoor amnesty for young people who arrived as children and were educated in the United States. But the law itself makes no promises. So, the arrest of Ramirez by ICE was perfectly lawful, even with his DACA paperwork and work permit. It was not a green card or proof of legal residency. He is still an illegal immigrant within the United States.
Second, Ramirez was arrested while at the home of his father. The father was the target of the ICE visit, as they had a warrant for his arrest. The Associated Press story says that authorities described the father as a “previously deported felon.” I notice that no one is taking up the father’s cause here.
Third, ICE says that Ramirez self-identified as a gang member.
— Keith Eldridge (@KeithKOMO4) February 16, 2017
His lawyers deny that he did. It should be noted that Ramirez’s brother, who is also a DACA recipient, was also present when father and brother were arrested. If ICE just decided to arrest Ramirez just because he had DACA papers, then why didn’t they arrest his brother?
Finally, Ramirez’s lawyers are pointing out that he has no criminal record and is “the father of an American citizen.” Ramirez is 23, and his son is three years old. I don’t know how many times this has to be said, but having a child who is an American citizen does not guarantee the parent any protections. While children can petition to get illegal parents green cards, those children must be 21 years old. Ramirez would be in for a long wait. And if the gang member allegation proves to be true, his lack of criminal record is meaningless.
Immigration activists better think long and hard about making Ramirez the face of DACA. They also need to remember that DACA only “defers” the action that could be taken. It may have been the Obama Administration’s intent to allow deferment in perpetuity. Clearly, the Trump Administration is not so inclined.