SEATTLE -- A Seattle federal judge has recommended that the case of Daniel Ramirez Medina, the “dreamer” detained last month, be heard on an expedited schedule.
Judge James P. Donohue denied a DOJ motion to dismiss the case from U.S. District Court but also denied Ramirez’s attorneys’ request for conditional release.
Instead, he wants the merits phase of the case, or larger case, to move forward as quickly as possible, noting that Ramirez remains in custody and “because there are nearly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries who are interested in the outcome of these proceedings.”
Western Washington U.S. District Court Chief Judge Martinez will rule on Judge Donohue's report and recommendation, following any new filings by lawyers on either side due by the end of the month.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, a recipient of the deferred action program started under President Obama, known as “DACA,” was taken into custody nearly a month ago, during an operation targeting his father, a previously deported felon, according to ICE.
Ramirez’s attorneys argue his arrest raises constitutional questions of due process, and they believe the case could have implications for DACA recipients nationwide.
“It will be a signal, it will be a strong message that the courts are going to protect DACA recipients.. that they’re going to be treated fairly,” said Theodore Boutrous, one of Ramirez’s multiple attorneys, speaking outside of court during a hearing last week.
The Department of Justice, meanwhile, has alleged that Ramirez admitted to gang affiliation during questioning. In court documents, officers also noted a “gang tattoo,” on Ramirez’s forearm.
Attorneys from Ramirez deny any gang affiliation and argue the tattoo represents his birthplace. They also allege Ramirez was pressured into making statements about gangs.
Background on details of the case
His attorneys argue Ramirez, who turned 24 while still in custody last week, is being unlawfully detained and want the “habeas” case heard in federal court.
The Department of Justice, meanwhile, had argued that the case should be heard in immigration court. An appeal of the case would ultimately go to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Federal Court of Appeals, according to the DOJ.
Additionally, in the government’s view, Ramirez lost his DACA status upon arrest.
“A decision to grant deferred action may be revoked by DHS at any time, particularly in the case of someone who commits a crime or is otherwise found to pose a national security of public safety threat,” said a DHS spokesperson when asked what due process rights are afforded to DACA recipients.
“Aliens granted deferred action from deportation are not protected by any kind of legal status, but are typically given a lower level of enforcement priority,” said the statement.
“We think the due process clause of the Constitution says you can’t do that to people—especially when government has given them that lawful presence in the United States,” counted Ramirez attorney Theodore Boutrous.
In addition to release, his legal team is also seeking “declaratory relief,” to provide clarity on the due process rights of DACA recipients.
“We’re saying to a federal judge: issue a statement that DACA provides certain protections for your liberties. That becomes a statement of a federal court and what the executive has to pay attention, so we don’t have to count on the good will of ICE agents,” said attorney Mark Rosenbaum.