Arrest of DACA Recipient Daniel Ramirez

Posted on February 14, 2017 by











Lara Bergthold, [email protected], (323) 892-2080

Hillary Moglen, [email protected], (323) 892-2080                                           


February 14, 2017                                                                                                    


Erwin Chemerinsky, Laurence Tribe Join Pro-Bono Legal Teams in Representing DREAMer Detained in Recent ICE Sweeps

TACOMA, WASH., February 14, 2017 — Civil rights attorneys filed a lawsuit yesterday challenging the Trump administration’s unconstitutional detention of a 23-year-old DREAMer. Since Friday, February 10, the Petitioner, Daniel Ramirez, has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and threatened with deportation, despite the fact that he has twice been granted deferred action under the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program (DACA), established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Daniel most recently renewed his DACA status on May 5, 2016.  As a DACA recipient, Daniel is considered by DHS to be lawfully present and is legally authorized to work in the United States.

The lawsuit, filed on February 13, 2017, argues that the detention violates the Due Process Clause and the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeks Daniel’s immediate release and an order barring further arrest or detention.

“Trust in our government depends upon the Executive Branch keeping its word,” said Mark Rosenbaum, director of Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law Project. “In establishing DACA, the federal government created a clear and reasonable expectation among DACA recipients that they would be able to live and work in the United States without being subjected to arrest and deportation.  Bait and switch sullies the integrity of our nation’s core values. The unprecedented and unjustified detention of Daniel not only violates the solemn promises made to him and other DACA recipients, but also violates his rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution.” 

DACA provides a reprieve from deportation and renewable work permits to eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children. Roughly 750,000 young people—known as DREAMers—have obtained DACA status, creating a pathway for these young people to enroll in college, legally secure jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the economic competitiveness of our nation. In establishing and continually operating DACA, the federal government created a reasonable expectation of constitutionally-protected liberty and property interests for DACA recipients, including being able to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation, so long as they satisfy DACA’s requirements.

“In granting Daniel DACA status, the federal government has twice determined — after intensive scrutiny — that he presents no threat to national security or public safety,” said Theodore J. Boutrous, Global Co-Chair of the Litigation Group at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. “The DACA Executive Order remains on the books and is in full force. Daniel’s deferred action status entitles him to constitutional protections, and U.S. immigration agents may not arbitrarily deprive him or any other DACA recipient of these protections.”

“Our country made a promise to these young people that by coming forward and following the rules, those who have grown up with America as their home, would not be deported to a country that is unfamiliar to them,” said Luis Cortes, Managing Attorney at Barrera Legal Group. “The administration has indicated its willingness to find solutions that don’t renege on that promise. We recognize that DACA recipients are nevertheless anxious and concerned about their future, but it’s important to remember that the legal status of DACA recipients has not changed.”

As has been widely reported, the recent sweeps by U.S. immigration agents across at least a half-dozen states have netted some immigrants with no criminal records, a departure from previous enforcement actions. Daniel is the first known individual with current DACA status to be detained. He has lived in the United States since he was seven years old.

Daniel was not afforded notice of, or a hearing on, his arrest and detention, and there was no probable cause for his arrest. He has not committed any crime. Yet he remains in custody even after repeated attempts by counsel to alert the federal government to the illegal detention and secure Daniel’s release.

The Petitioner is represented by Public Counsel, the largest pro bono law firm in the nation, the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which is handling the case pro bono, Washington immigration law firm Barrera Legal Group, Harvard Professor of Law Laurence Tribe, and Dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky.

Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Founded in 1970, Public Counsel strives to achieve three main goals: protect the legal rights of disadvantaged children; represent immigrants who have been the victims of torture, persecution, domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes; and foster economic justice by providing individuals and institutions in underserved communities with access to quality legal representation. Through a pro bono model that leverages the talents and dedication of thousands of attorney and law student volunteers, along with an in-house staff of more than 75 attorneys and social workers, Public Counsel annually assists more than 30,000 families, children, immigrants, veterans, and nonprofit organizations and addresses systemic poverty and civil rights issues through impact litigation and policy advocacy. For more information, visit

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a leading international law firm.  Consistently ranking among the world’s top law firms in industry surveys and major publications, Gibson Dunn is distinctively positioned in today’s global marketplace with more than 1,200 lawyers and 20 offices, including Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Singapore, and Washington, D.C.  For more information on Gibson Dunn, please visit our Web site. 

Barrera Legal Group focuses on complex immigration issues ranging from family reunification, removal defense and unlawful detention. Barrera legal has represented clients all of over the US and and in several different countries and maintains committed to represent the immigrant community.



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