DREAMer's Arrest Puts To Question Safety Of Undocumented Students Under TrumpBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
A DREAMer, or someone who is protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program of the Obama administration, was recently arrested during a raid last week. Officials claimed that he was a gang member and, therefore, poses a "threat to national security."
BuzzFeed News reported that Daniel Ramirez was threatened with deportation and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Feb. 10 in Seattle. A lawsuit was filed on Monday since Ramirez should have been protected by the DACA program. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.
It is estimated that there are about 750,000 DREAMers, who sought protection through the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, were able to receive work permits under former President Obama's 2012 executive actions. This also shielded them from deportation.
Moreover, DREAMers also received letters that stated how any deportation actions against them would be deferred for two years. Within those years, they can look for work in the United States.
According to the Los Angeles Times, ICE officials said that Daniel Ramirez was a "self-admitted gang member." They added that his detention was due to him being a "risk to public safety."
The DREAMer's attorneys, though, were adamant that Ramirez was not part of a gang. They said that their client was "repeatedly pressured" by the ICE agents to "falsely admit affiliation."
Ramirez's arrest comes as concerns over the safety of undocumented immigrants, especially students, under President Trump escalates. There are also worries that the current administration may start targeting thousands of immigrants who were considered low priorities for deportation under the previous presidency.
The Voice of America noted that a lot of immigrants, who have stayed in the country for years but have not been granted legal status, are scared of being caught and deported. Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), said that ICE's operation last week was "not normal."
Several universities and colleges have stood up to share their support for undocumented students. The institutions vowed that they will continue to defend these students and provide protection for them.