DACAs Don’t Panic

February 21, 2017

Last week, Daniel Ramirez, a DACA recipient in Seattle was taken into ICE custody when officers came to his home to arrest his father. Although this situation is certainly alarming, we don’t think this is the time for panic.

From what we’re hearing, attorneys in the case believe this was an isolated incident. It is possible that Daniel’s collateral arrest (whether intentional or not) was a mistake. It does not appear to be part of a larger policy of targeting DACAs or disregarding deferred action protection.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has some observations, reminders and tips to share:

  • ICE came into contact with Daniel because they were pursuing his father for a prior removal order and felony criminal record. Most DACAs will not be in close proximity to this type of enforcement activity and at risk for collateral arrest.
  • DACAs with some criminal issues were already at risk and may be more vulnerable now. DACA applicants with criminal records were already potential targets for possible arrest. Even an approved deferred action grant may not protect someone who, subsequent to their deferred action approval, falls under one of the so-called priorities for enforcement or is determined to be a threat to national safety. ICE could use the pretense of gang affiliation for targeting people (DACA or not).
  • DACAs must exercise their right to remain silent! Any resistance to ICE activity that is within one’s constitutionally protected rights (the right to remain silent, the right to not open the door, the right to not sign anything) may be enough to disarm ICE from having the information they need to take a person into custody.
  • There have been a few other unconfirmed reports of DACAs being taken into custody in other parts of the country. Again, these are unconfirmed and we know of no further details. Keep in mind, it is possible that, if they are true, these individuals may have other issues that make them a priority for deportation (criminal issues that have come up, etc.). Deferred action will not necessarily protect a person from deportation in all cases. However, we should not assume that there is a larger pattern such that all DACAs need now be worried.