Is the US Goverment Playing Bait-and-Switch with DREAMers? Ongoing Developments for Daniel Ramirez Medina

On Friday, February 17, the U.S. District Court of the Western District in Seattle, Washington is holding a conference to determine Daniel Ramirez Medina’s status. The crux of the issue now before the court is whether Daniel will be treated as someone possessed of the constitutional rights that demand a regular federal court to decide whether he should be freed from government custody or whether he should be treated as somebody whose presence in this country is so illegitimate that he does not merit such consideration, and instead can have his future handled as an administrative matter. The US government takes the position that Daniel is a dangerous alien subject to deportation proceedings. Daniel’s attorneys argue otherwise. Their brief (“the Ramirez brief”) submitted for tomorrow’s conference is publicly available online. Thus far, I have not been able to find online the government brief to which they are responding.

For nonlawyers, here are key passages from the 19 page Ramirez brief. These passages are high points in the argument that Daniel was seized by the government unlawfully and unconstitutionally, and that therefore he must be released from custody immediately, with any further proceedings related to his arrest to be decided in regular federal court rather than in administrative adjudication in an immigration court.

At the time of arrest and detention, Mr. Ramirez was authorized to live and work in the United States, pursuant to his DACA status. And yet, because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, he had all his benefits summarily cancelled, he got arrested, and he got thrown in detention. Essentially, Mr. Ramirez is asserting questions about what it means to be a DREAMer – whether he and others can safely rely on the implicit promises made to them by the United States government.

***
The Respondents [the U.S. government] assert that the issuance of the NTA by a single immigration officer immediately terminated Mr. Ramirez’s DACA deferred action without notice. The Notice of Action dated February 17, 2017, states that the employment authorization terminated automatically as of the date the NTA was issued as well. The Due Process Clause does not permit this result.

***

Termination of DACA and the work authorization “involves state action that adjudicates important rights,” Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254, 262 (1970), and “[t]his constitutional challenge cannot be answered by the argument that [the] benefits are a ‘privilege’ and not a ‘right,’” Id. (citation omitted) (holding that termination of welfare benefits requires pre-deprivation notice and “opportunity to be heard”). That is the case here.

***

To expect the government to honor its promise and follow its own rules should not have been too much for Mr. Ramirez to expect.

***

As the Supreme Court has long recognized, the Due Process Clause forbids the government from punishing people for engaging in conduct that the government itself has encouraged. See, e.g., Cox v. State of La., 379 U.S. 559, 571 (1965) (holding that the government could not punish protestors for demonstrating in a location where state officials had said the protest was allowed). For the government now “‘to say to [Mr. Ramirez], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.’”

***

The only issue presented in this habeas petition is whether Mr. Ramirez’s current detention (and previous arrest leading to that detention) is unconstitutional, given his status as a DACA beneficiary.

***

The Respondents now apparently claim that this is, in fact, an arrest and detention relating to a removal proceeding. That is not the case. The situation surrounding the arrest and detention clearly demonstrate that this was not a thoughtful, intentional action on the part of ICE. The ICE agents did not have an arrest warrant for Mr. Ramirez when they arrived at the home of his father. They clearly did not know whether he was a United States citizen or not, as they asked him upon arrival: “Were you born here in the United States?” This removal proceeding they have initiated is a clear distraction and is wholly irrelevant to the habeas petition currently facing this court.

***

As stated above, the question before this court on this habeas petition is whether, given this complex and precise framework, a reasonable expectation was created that a DACA beneficiary (such as Mr. Ramirez) could not be arbitrarily and capriciously arrested and detained. That is a question squarely within the jurisdiction and expertise of this court, and one that cannot be adjudicated by an Immigration Judge.

***

[footnote 6] If the Respondents want to engage in such tactics, Mr. Ramirez is entitled to a full and fair opportunity to litigate his claims. This would include the opportunity to take discovery in a case proceeding in federal court: What investigations did DHS have going on with respect to Mr. Ramirez at the time of his arrest? What documents did they have linking him to gang activity? What gang members in particular is he believed to be associated with? What type of criminal activity is he suspected of involvement in? When did the gang affiliation start? Did it start before his DACA application? If so, what, if any findings did DHS make regarding his gang membership during his background check? If the gang affiliation has started since his most recent DACA application (May 2016), what evidence do they have of such a change in circumstance? Have they ever applied for an arrest warrant for Mr. Ramirez? Were the ICE agents who arrested Mr. Ramirez’s father under instruction to also arrest Mr. Ramirez? If so, by whom? If not, at what point did they decide to make the arrest? Why did they only arrest Mr. Ramirez and not his brother?

Advertisements
Is the US Goverment Playing Bait-and-Switch with DREAMers? Ongoing Developments for Daniel Ramirez Medina

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s