One of the so-called “Dreamers” -- illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children -- has been arrested by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Daniel Ramirez Medina (23), had obtained a work permit and had no criminal record. His arrest, according to a Reuters report, could be the first detention of an immigrant of this sort during President Trump’s administration. The report said that ICE went first at Ramirez’s residence in Seattle to arrest his father. This may signal that Trump has a much broader scope for arrests and deportation of illegal aliens.
 
According to the report, the arrest of a 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina was conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers who originally showed up at Ramirez's residence to arrest the man's father. Ramirez was one of the Dreamers who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program promulgated by Barack Obama. The program was intended to allow illegal immigrants who came to into the country as minors to obtain work permits and avoid deportation. DACA has applied to approximately 750,000 immigrants since its inception 2012. 
 
Reuters reported that Ramirez filed papers with a court, contending that his arrest was illegal because he had a work permit. His attorney said he hopes the arrest was a mistake.
Hundreds of immigrants have been detained and arrested during the last week, as the Trump administration had promised, sparking protests in various cities.
 
However, fugitive operation teams of Immigration and Customs Enforcement were active throughout the eight years Barack Obama was in office, becoming much more focused on arresting illegal immigrants with criminal records. Obama made it a priority to arrest immigrants who were criminals, public or national security threats, or who entered illegally after January 1, 2014. 
 
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Richard Kelly said 75 percent of the 678 people recently arrested were convicted criminals. They were arrested in the areas overseen by Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York, as well as North and South Carolina. 
 
Under Obama, the priorities for ICE were illegal immigrants who had committed at least one felony or a misdemeanor — such as drunk driving or dealing illegal drugs — or three misdemeanors. The raids in California were planned before Trump’s inauguration, according to ICE.
 
Under Trump, however, the priorities have changed. For example, in a statement from ICE to NBC News, it was revealed that of the 160 arrested in Los Angeles, 150 had criminal histories.
 
If Trump can implement his executive orders, ICE may return to a less-focused approach and thus subject more people to deportation. Immigrant advocacy groups are thus commensurately more concerned about deportations and raids. In a raid in Arizona last week, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was arrested and deported. She is a 37-year-old Mexican national who had used a false Social Security number to get a job and was convicted of criminal impersonation. Many immigrants use false or stolen Social Security numbers to work but until now have not been a high priority for deportation. However, Trump’s orders call for the arrest and deportation of those convicted of crimes or charged with one, as well as immigrants that authorities believe have "committed a chargeable criminal offense." That means that illegal entry to the country, driving without a license, or fraudulently using a Social Security number are deportable offenses in the Trump scheme.
 
Trump’s executive order also prioritizes for deportation those who have "engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation" before a government body, abused welfare, have a final order of removal, or who may pose a risk to public safety or national security. While Trump has said in the past that criminal aliens are his focus, his executive orders would exercise a broader scope.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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