A federal magistrate says he expects to rule early next week on whether to release Mexican immigrant Daniel Ramirez Medina, who was arrested near Seattle despite his participation in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Ramirez is asking a Seattle court to find that his arrest Feb. 10 violated his constitutional rights.
He was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who initially arrived to detain his father. He has no criminal history and twice passed background checks to participate in DACA, which granted him a work permit.
ICE alleged Ramirez had gang ties, due to the tattoo he bears on his arm. But Ramirez's lawyers have denied their client has any gang involvement and maintain the tattoo refers to the Mexican city where he was born in the state of Baja California Sur.
Ramirez later accused federal officials of altering a line of his written post-arrest statement, making it look like a confession of gang activity.
U.S. immigration and Justice Department attorneys denied that claim Tuesday .
U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue said at a hearing Wednesday he wouldn't immediately rule because the Justice Department improperly made a new argument in a brief filed Tuesday, leaving Ramirez's attorneys little chance to respond.
Donohue is also considering whether to release Ramirez from custody.
Ramirez wants the judge to declare that all of the so-called "dreamers" in the DACA program have similar rights to their status.
Federal law says deportation cases must be heard in immigration court, but Ramirez's lawyers argue that they are merely challenging his arrest, not his deportation.
Donohue has already once declined to release him.
Now 23, Ramirez was brought to the U.S. at age 7 by his parents. Last week, Ramirez’s father, Antonio Ramirez Polendo, was charged with the federal crime of illegal re-entry into the United States. Polendo has been captured by the feds seven times since 2000. He also has a 2004 felony conviction for drug trafficking.