A Mexican immigrant who had been approved by President Barack Obama‘s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was detained by immigration officials in Washington State last week, and his lawyers say the government altered documents to make it look like he was in a gang.
Daniel Ramirez Medina was held in the gang unit at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, and when he filed a petition to be transferred out of the unit, someone erased part of it, his lawyers say. Now he’s suing in federal court. His complaint says that Medina wrote on his petition, “I came in and the officers said I have gang affiliation with gangs so I wear an orange uniform. I do not have a criminal history and I’m not affiliated with any gangs.” But when he got his petition back from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials five days later, it said, “I have gang affiliation with gangs so I wear an orange uniform. I do not have a criminal history and I’m not affiliated with any gangs.” An image of the document shows that the first phrase had been obviously erased. Meanwhile, the government says they detained “based on his admitted gang affiliation.”
One of Medina’s lawyers told The Seattle Times that the suspicion of gang affiliation may have been related to a tattoo on his arm, but he denied being in a gang when officials questioned him about it repeatedly.
It’s unclear why Medina was detained in the first place, being that he is authorized to be in the country. Medina was brought to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant when he was 7 years old, but the DACA program was supposed to keep him from being deported. Nevertheless, he was arrested during a raid on a family member.
A hearing in Medina’s case regarding his detention will take place on Friday in Seattle federal court. This is the same court that issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump‘s travel ban.
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