SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. authorities have arrested an immigrant from Mexico who was brought to the United States illegally as a child and later given a work permit during the Obama administration in what could be the first detention of its kind under President Donald Trump.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year-old with no criminal record, was taken into custody last week at his father’s home in Seattle by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The officers arrived at the home to arrest the man’s father, though court documents did no make clear the reason the father was taken into custody.
Ramirez, now in custody in Tacoma, Washington, was granted temporary permission to live and work legally in the United States under a program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, established in 2012 by Democratic President Obama, according to a court filing.
The program protects from deportation 750,000 people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, sometimes called the “dreamers,” and gives them the temporary right to work legally in the United States.
Trump, a Republican who took office on Jan. 20, has promised a crackdown on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, most of whom come from Mexico and other Latin American countries. A move against DACA recipients like Ramirez would represent a significant broadening of immigration enforcement under Trump.
Ramirez filed a challenge to his detention in Seattle federal court on Monday, arguing that the government violated his constitutional rights because he had work authorization under the DACA program.
Ethan Dettmer, a partner in the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher who is one of the lawyers representing Ramirez, said he is not aware of any other DACA recipient who has been arrested.
“We are hoping this detention was a mistake,” Dettmer said.