Press Releases

WA Dems Concerned about Detention of DREAMer, Denounce ICE Raids

Lawmakers also call for clarification of administration’s practices

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Washington, DC, February 18, 2017 | comments

Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA), joined by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Adam Smith (WA-09), Denny Heck (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), and Suzan DelBene (WA-01), sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to express concern that enforcement priorities are now so broad that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, such as Daniel Ramirez Medina, may be caught up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.

Under the Executive Order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” Mr. Ramirez should not have been a priority for detention by ICE. The letter seeks clarification of the changes to ICE’s enforcement priorities and the practices of ICE agents at the doors and in the homes of immigrants.

“We expect due process and facts to guide government agency’s actions,” the members of Congress wrote. “But what we have seen from this administration is repeated falsehoods about immigrants and refugees, and suspicion and allegations rule the day. This is unacceptable, and we demand better.”

That America may break its promise to DACA recipients, who came out of the shadows to sign up for the program with the understanding that they would not be targeted for detention and deportation if they followed the law, is of particular concern to the members of Congress. Further, the Senators and Representatives note that immigration raids do not succeed in creating safe communities.

“In nearly all circumstances, engaging in immigration raids to detain people is unnecessary and damaging to our communities,” wrote the members of Congress.

Specifically, the letter requests:

  •        A detailed description of any change in ICE policy since January 19, 2017, that allows for ICE agents to detain a DACA recipient, and under what conditions. 
  •        A detailed description of how ICE conducts oversight of its enforcement actions, including as it pertains to DACA recipients who were detained “collaterally” to other enforcement targets.
  •        A copy of any written policies or standard practices ICE agents use to guide their actions when they are presented with legal documents by individuals in the home of a person who is the target of an ICE raid.
  •        A description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented by local ICE agents as it relates to DACA recipients, and what guidance local ICE agents were provided on this matter.
  •        A copy of any policies used by ICE when issuing press statements pertaining to allegations against a detainee that are not proven in a Federal criminal court or State criminal court.

A copy of the letter can be found below.

February 17, 2017

The Honorable John F. Kelly

Secretary of Homeland Security

3801 Nebraska Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Kelly,

We write to express concern that the Executive Order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” seems to expand enforcement priorities so broadly that even Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients could be susceptible. It appears that local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a recipient of the DACA program in error. We want to inquire whether ICE has changed its enforcement practices pertaining to DACA recipients. We are also deeply concerned the Department may have altered the procedures and practices of ICE agents at the doors and in the homes of immigrants. This is clearly demonstrated by the detainment of Mr. Daniel Ramirez Medina near Seattle, a recipient of DACA whose attorney states there is no apparent reason he should have been detained. We are particularly concerned about Mr. Ramirez’s case and would like a full briefing at the earliest possible date on all actions and evidence that led ICE to detain Mr. Ramirez after learning he is a DACA recipient.

Young people applied for the DACA program with the promise that applying would not result in immigration enforcement actions as long as they followed the law. DACA recipients have been carefully vetted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and granted permission to remain in the United States and authorization to work, a clear indication DACA recipients are not an enforcement priority. Moreover, in nearly all circumstances engaging in immigration raids to detain people is unnecessary and damaging to our communities. These raids wreak havoc in immigrant communities across the country. Mr. Ramirez’s case, and the lack of clear communication regarding his arrest, will only cause more anxiety and confusion among immigrant communities in Washington state and across the United States.

We expect due process and facts to guide government agency’s actions. But what we have seen from this administration is repeated falsehoods about immigrants and refugees, and suspicion and allegations rule the day. This is unacceptable, and we demand better. We request that you provide to our staff:

•       A detailed description of any change in ICE policy since January 19, 2017, that allows for ICE agents to detain a DACA recipient, and under what conditions. 

•       A detailed description of how ICE conducts oversight of its enforcement actions, including as it pertains to DACA recipients who were detained “collaterally” to other enforcement targets.

•       A copy of any written policies or standard practices ICE agents use to guide their actions when they are presented with legal documents by individuals in the home of a person who is the target of an ICE raid.

•       A description of how the Executive Order pertaining to interior enforcement will be implemented by local ICE agents as it relates to DACA recipients, and what guidance local ICE agents were provided on this matter.

•       A copy of any policies used by ICE when issuing press statements pertaining to allegations against a detainee that are not proven in a Federal criminal court or State criminal court.

We are deeply troubled by the lack of communication and transparency in ICE’s handling of this matter and expect a prompt reply to this letter.

Sincerely,

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