This is really an extraordinary report for Slate by Mark Joseph Stern:
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez shot down the
federal government’s efforts to strip Daniel Ramirez Medina of his
DACA status. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had arrested and
detained Ramirez last year, then falsely claimed that he was
affiliated with a gang and attempted to deport him. He filed suit,
alleging that ICE had violated his due process rights. Martinez
agreed. His order barred the federal government from voiding
Ramirez’s DACA status, safeguarding his ability to live and work
in the United States legally for the foreseeable future. What may
be most remarkable about Martinez’s decision, though, is its blunt
repudiation of ICE’s main claim — that Ramirez is
“gang-affiliated.” The judge did not simply rule against ICE. He
accused the agency of lying to a court of law.
The facts of Ramirez’s case are extremely disturbing. In February
2017, shortly after President Donald Trump unleashed immigration
agents to amp up arrests and deportations, ICE agents went to
Ramirez’s father’s house in Seattle to arrest him. (The father is
undocumented, and brought Ramirez to the U.S. illegally as a
child.) While there, they encountered Ramirez and asked him
whether he was “legally here.” He responded that he was — a
truthful statement given his DACA status, which he had renewed the
previous May. Yet ICE officers detained him anyway. They took him
to a processing center, where, once again, he told them that he
had a work permit.
“It doesn’t matter,” an agent responded, “because you weren’t born
in this country.”
What’s unusual about Ramirez’s case isn’t that he was falsely accused of being a gang member. That seems to be a common tactic from ICE agents seeking to strip DACA recipients of their legal status so they can be deported. What’s unusual about Ramirez’s case is that he had the means to acquire good legal representation so he could fight back. I’ll repeat: ICE, under Trump, has turned into a terrorist organization. Keep in mind that thanks to the Republican-controlled Supreme Court, these ICE agents will likely face no legal repercussions for blatantly lying like this.
Keep this in mind regarding Trump and his supporters’ argument that he wasn’t referring to Latino immigrants, in general, as “animals”, but rather only to gang members. It’s just a linguistic charade to salve over the blatant racism. They’re not going after Latinos, they say, only gang members. But as this Ramirez case shows, they just declare anyone they want to deport to be a gang member, whether there’s any truth to it or not, and most people have no means to fight back.
★ Friday, 18 May 2018