Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

#FreeDaniel

'Arresting a young DACA recipient with deep roots in our country is not only cruel and outrageous but an affront to our core principles and democratic values.' (Photo: United We Dream/Twitter)

#FreeDaniel: Community United in Outrage After ICE Detains 'Dreamer' With No Criminal Record

'Seattle stands with Daniel and we will not back down until he is free'

Nika Knight

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested and detained a 'Dreamer,' or an undocumented immigrant brought to the U.S. as a young child and given permission to live and work legally in the country, stunning civil rights defenders nationwide and provoking fierce local opposition.

While President Donald Trump has issued a draconian anti-immigrant executive order that appears to have set in motion a sharp increase in ICE raids nationwide, the arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina in Seattle last week marks the first detention of an immigrant allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since Trump took office.

"Arresting a young DACA recipient with deep roots in our country is not only cruel and outrageous but an affront to our core principles and democratic values," said Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU—"one of the largest unions representing immigrant workers in the country"—in a statement. "Daniel Ramirez should be brought back where he belongs; with his family and his community in Seattle."

Seattle is also a sanctuary city, meaning local law enforcement will not arrest and detain immigrants on behalf of ICE. Sanctuary cities have been sharply targeted by the Trump administration, which has threatened to pull their federal funding.

Immigration and civil rights lawyers immediately filed a petition in federal court for Ramirez Medina's release. A magistrate judge in Seattle issued an order requiring the federal government to respond to the suit by Thursday, and scheduled a hearing on Friday.

Immigrant rights groups, politicians, union representatives, and local community members are also demanding his release, and people nationwide are voicing their outrage on social media under the hashtag #FreeDaniel. A petition calling for Ramirez Medina's release has already received nearly 10,000 signatures.

"President Trump's deportation force has struck our community and taken one of our own. It's unconscionable that Daniel, who trusted the government and registered under DACA, was picked up and sent to a detention center," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in a statement.

Ramirez Medina, 23, is a father and has a work permit issued by the Department of Homeland Security. He has no criminal record. (Possession of a criminal record precludes a work permit under DACA.) These facts have not stopped ICE from claiming that Ramirez Medina a "gang member," an allegation that his lawyers and local civil rights advocates vehemently deny.

The Seattle Times reports that "Medina's attorney, Mark Rosenbaum, said his client 'unequivocally denies being in a gang' and said 'he was repeatedly pressured' by ICE to 'falsely admit affiliation.'" Rosenbaum characterized ICE's statement to the contrary as "inaccurate."

Rosenbaum also "accused the federal government of a 'bait and switch,' by having people register for the DACA program and then trying to deport them," writes the Seattle Times.

"We are hoping this detention was a mistake," another one of Ramirez Medina's lawyers told the Guardian.

"It's clear that these inhumane raids are anything but routine," said Jayapal. "The president is tearing apart families and striking fear into immigrant communities. People no longer feel safe in their own homes."

Also on Tuesday, ICE acting director Thomas Homan dodged a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss last week's raids, prompting accusations that the agency is "ducking accountability," as Common Dreams reported.

Ramirez Medina's community continues to rally around him. "Seattle stands in with Daniel and we will not back down until he is free," Jayapal declared.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

UN Officials Warn of 'Record-Shattering Month' for Civilian Deaths in Yemen

Following deadly strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, Oxfam is calling on the U.N. Security Council to condemn attacks on Yemenis and to "inject new urgency" into peace talks.

Jessica Corbett ·


Experts Say Nuclear Energy as Climate Solution Is Total 'Fiction'

"The reality is nuclear is neither clean, safe, or smart; but a very complex technology with the potential to cause significant harm."

Jessica Corbett ·


Air and Water Under Threat as SCOTUS Targets Environmental Laws

"It seems like we have a new conservative supermajority on the court that is much more inclined to do a slash-and-burn expedition through our major environmental laws."

Julia Conley ·


'Historic Turning Point': Cuba Issues Plan for Vaccine Internationalism

"This lifesaving package," said the head of Progressive International's delegation to Cuba, exemplifies public health and science being "placed above private profit and petty nationalism."

Kenny Stancil ·


Fridays For Future Announces Global Climate Strike for March 25

"Join us for the Global Climate Strike as we demand policymakers and world leaders to prioritize #PeopleNotProfit!"

Common Dreams staff ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo