Editorial: The Scope of Deportations

The federal government granted protection to Dreamers. That has to be respected until official changes are made and, if they are, then they must be clear.

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Editorial: The Scope of Deportations
Foto: Archivo/Ciro Cesar / La Opinion

If its real goal is to only detain criminals and dangerous people, President Donald Trump’s executive order guiding the detention of undocumented people is too broad and contradictory. What everyone feared happened: It is being used to detain a Dreamer who is protected from deportation.

Daniel Ramírez-Medina was at his father’s house in Seattle when ICE agents arrived to take his father, who had brought him to the U.S when Daniel was 7. When they did not find him, they arrested Ramírez-Medina, who had renewed his DACA deportation protection twice. It had been granted by President Obama to minors who had been brought into the country by their undocumented parents.

The authorities say that the 23-year-old is in a gang, and that this makes him a threat to public safety as well as deportable. His attorney says that this is not true, that Ramírez-Medina has a job, a child, and that he was pressed by the authorities to accept a nonexistent affiliation.

What is known is that the young man’s name did not appear on any lists of people to be detained, as has been the case with many others arrested. According to official figures, 25% of the people detained in previous raids did not have a criminal record. A number of cases have been reported in which the authorities have been looking for a specific person but ended up arresting other people present in the house.

On the other hand, DACA beneficiaries go through strict a background check, and anyone belonging to a gang is disqualified.

Some say this is a mistake. Hopefully, it is.

Still, it looks like the arrest is a result of the executive order that authorizes detention when, at an ICE agent’s “discretion,” a person is a “risk to public safety.”

The order signed by Trump also stipulates that immigration laws cannot be executed “if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens,” which opens the door to different interpretations.

The federal government granted protection to Dreamers. That has to be respected until official changes are made and, if they are, then they must be clear. The courts will probably have to make a decision on this.

It is impossible to limit this order to only capture dangerous undocumented people. Its vagueness reveals a different intention: to deport whoever they can, whether it is a Dreamer, a working mother or a murderer.

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