President Trump said in his press conference today that he will deal with the so-called Dreamers “with hear.” The Dreamers are illegal aliens who have lived in the United States since they were minors and were given license to remain in the US through an executive order or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) issued by Barack Obama. He said that the executive orders issued by his predecessor were “illegal.” The press conference came on the same day that federal immigration authorities found that one of the Dreamers is an admitted criminal gang member.
During the 90-minute presser, the president was asked about DACA. He admitted to reporters in the East Room of the White House, “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me,” and said that “we’re going to show great heart.”
“You have these incredible kids, in many cases not in all cases,” Trump said. “In some of the cases they’re having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers too. But you have some absolutely incredible kids…they were brought here in such a way, it’s a very, very tough subject.”
“The DACA situation is a very difficult thing for me as I love these kids, I love kids, I have kids and grandkids and I find it very hard doing what the law says exactly to do and, you know, the law is rough,” Trump said. “It’s rough, very very rough.”
In a court brief that was filed today in Seattle, authorities said that they have arrested Daniel Ramirez Medina (23), a native of Mexico who was brought to the US illegally when he was seven years old. Because he admitted to several connections with street gangs, authorities are moving to deport him. Jeffrey Robins, an assistant director of the US Office of Immigration Litigation, said in his brief that Ramirez admitted that a gang tattoo on his forearm showed that he “used to hang out with the Surenos -- a notorious criminal organization of California. Ramirez added that he had fled California to escape from the gangs, but is still associated with the Paizas gang in Washington State.
Ramirez Medina is facing a deportation hearing on February 17.
Ramirez was awakened at his family’s apartment on February 10 in Des Moines, Washington, when agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrived with an arrest warrant for his father, who is a “prior-deported felon.” Ramirez’s brother was present at the raid but not arrested. Neither he nor Ramirez Medina’s father were named in court documents.
Ramirez Medina is currently held by ICE in Tacoma, Washington.
ICE attorney Robin said that Ramirez Medina’s father gave permission to the ICE officers to enter the apartment after saying that both of his adult sons were illegal aliens. Robins wrote in his brief, “When questioned by ICE officers, Petitioner [Ramirez] answered that he was born in Mexico and answered ‘yes’ to the question whether he was ‘illegally’ in the United States. In addition, when asked whether he had ever been arrested, Petitioner answered ‘yes.’”
Ramirez Medina’s attorneys say that both he and his brother thought they were protected from deportation under DACA. They also claim he has no criminal record and had come to Washington State looking for work to support his 3-year-old American citizen son who lives with the mother.
ICE attorney Robins wrote in his brief that DACA protection are not absolute. “DACA is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion and deferred action may be terminated at any time, with or without a Notice of Intent to Terminate, at DHS’s discretion,” he wrote.
The arrest of Ramirez Medina has caused a hue and cry among immigrant advocates who have created a Twitter hashtag, #FreeDaniel, in support while linking to rallies in New York and elsewhere. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is one of a number of federal and local officials seeking to secure Ramirez Medina’s release. The group claims that the background checks required by DACA would have revealed whether he was a gang member. His attorneys claim that he was threatened by ICE officers to admit his links to gangs.