A man protected from deportation under President Obama’s administration but detained last month by immigration officials is free, for now.
Daniel Ramirez Medina, 24, was freed Wednesday from the federal immigration detention center in Tacoma after he posted a $15,000 bond.
Judge John Odell on Tuesday approved freeing Ramirez until his next immigration court hearing.
After he was freed, Ramirez was welcomed by supporters in the lobby of the Northwest Detention Center. He embraced his brother, who was waiting outside.
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Ramirez briefly spoke to reporters gathered from about a dozen media outlets, saying in Spanish he was grateful to everyone who had supported him.
In a statement later sent by his attorneys, Ramirez said he was excited to see his young son, and that: “This has been a long and hard 46 days, but I’m so thankful for the support that I’ve gotten from everyone who helped me and for the opportunity to live in such an amazing country.”
He was brought to the United States from Mexico at age 7 and, since 2014, has been lawfully present in the U.S. under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, his lawyers have said.
So-called “Dreamers” can live and work in the U.S. temporarily, though the program doesn’t grant citizenship or permanent residency. About 750,000 immigrants have enrolled in the DACA program since it began.
Ramirez is thought to be the first Dreamer detained under President Donald Trump’s ramped-up deportation efforts.
He had been detained at the center since Feb. 10, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took him into custody at his Des Moines home, where they had gone to arrest his father.
ICE officials said Ramirez, who has no criminal history, admitted to being affiliated with a gang. His attorneys say that’s not true. A condition of receiving DACA status is that applicants must not pose a threat to national security or public safety. Immigration officials revoked Ramirez’s protected status after his arrest.
Ramirez spent 40 minutes answering questions from prosecutors during a two-hour hearing Tuesday, repeatedly denying gang connections, his attorney, Mark Rosenbaum, said.
“He answered every question the government put to him,” Rosenbaum said. “He stayed true, and the government had no evidence whatsoever.”
After his detention, Ramirez filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that his detention was unconstitutional. His attorneys asked that Ramirez be released conditionally, pending a resolution of the suit. When that request was denied by the federal court, his attorneys sought the bond hearing in front of the immigration judge.
“It’s been a very, very, very long road,” Luis Cortes, one of Ramirez’s attorneys, said as he left the detention center with his client. “We’re going to take some time to decompress, talk next steps.”