Daniel Ramirez Medina, who had been arrested in February by immigration agents despite being a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was released Wednesday from a detention center in Tacoma, Washington.
The 24-year-old had been detained since February 10, when immigration officials arrived at an apartment near Seattle seeking to arrest his father. His case received national attention, because DACA protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Ramirez Medina was released on Wednesday after his family and lawyers paid $15,000 bail, which was granted by federal Immigration Judge John Odell Tuesday. The young man still faces deportation and has been accused by ICE of belonging to a gang, which he denies.
"I’m so happy to be reunited with my family today and can’t wait to see my son," he said in a public statement. "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. I know that this isn’t over, but I’m hopeful for the future, for me and for the hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers who love this country like I do."
Ramirez Medina's son is a three-year-old U.S.-citizen.
He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who initially arrived to detain his father, Antonio Ramírez Polendo, who has been captured by federal agents seven times since 2000. Ramírez Polendo also has a 2004 felony conviction for drug trafficking.
Ramirez Medina entered the country from Mexico when he was just seven years old. He has no criminal history and twice passed background checks to participate in DACA, which granted him a work permit. He renewed his DACA permit - which lasts two years - last year.
ICE alleged Ramirez Medina had gang ties, due to the tattoo he bears on his arm. But his lawyers have denied their client has any gang involvement and maintain the tattoo - a star with the caption 'La Paz BCS' - refers to "peace" and the Mexican city where he was born in the state of Baja California Sur.