[JURIST] Civil rights lawyers filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] Monday after immigration agents in Washington state detained [LAT report] a 23-year-old immigrant who was protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is an executive order that prevents immigrants who were brought into the US as children from being deported and gives them the opportunity to legally obtain employment. Despite qualifying for DACA twice, Daniel Ramirez Medina was arrested when agents came to his father's home with a warrant for his father's arrest. According to the petition for writ of habeus corpus filed by civil rights lawyers on Ramirez's behalf, after agents arrested Mr. Ramirez senior, they entered the home and asked Ramirez, "Are you legally here?" to which he replied that he was. Later, he again informed agents that he was permitted to live and work in the US as a DACA recipient. Despite never being convicted of a crime, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Ramirez was a "self-admitted gang member" and was being detained because he is a "risk to public safety." Ramirez's attorneys denied the claim.
DACA has been a contentious issue in recent weeks. In January DACA-protected Mitzie Perez and the California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Wells Fargo alleging that the bank refused to extend Perez and other similarly situated students loans solely because of their immigration status. A Georgia state court refused last month to back down from its earlier ruling granting in-state tuition to Georgia university students protected by DACA. Also in January the US House of Representatives [official website] passed a funding bill [JURIST report] that included amendments designed to repeal key elements of DACA. A collection of mayors from major US cities, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, warned [JURIST report] then president-elect Donald Trump in December about potential negative economic consequences of repealing DACA.