SEATTLE — Lawyers for a Des Moines immigrant were back in a Seattle federal courtroom arguing for his release from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma Wednesday.
The case could have far-reaching implications.
Department of Justice attorneys want the case sorted out in an immigration court, but Daniel Ramirez's attorneys will be arguing it should be a case for the federal court system.
If his attorneys win, it could affect thousands of others who have been detained.
Key developments in case:
- Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, was detained by immigration authorities nearly two weeks ago.
- Immigration officials say they took Ramirez into custody "based on his admitted gang affiliation and risk to public safety."
- He was taken from his father's home in Des Moines
- Follow this link to read the brief on Ramirez from the Department of Homeland Security.
- Follow this link to read the petition filed by Ramirez attorneys.
- Ramirez was brought to the United States when he was 7 years old and was approved for President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
- Immigration officials said that Ramirez's DACA status can be terminated because of his gang affiliation.
- Court documents filed on Thursday reports Ramirez had a "gang tattoo" on his forearm, but his lawyers said the agents misidentified it.
- A federal magistrate in Seattle declined to release Ramirez last month.
His attorneys hope that by arguing the 23-year-old was unconstitutionally arrested in February-- rather than the deportation order activated against him --- Ramirez will have his case heard in federal court.
Ramirez participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which was designed to protect those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
DOJ attorneys have been arguing Ramirez is an alleged gang member who confessed and say it is a case for the immigration courts.
His lawyers say that's false, and they want the federal court to rule that his detention violates his constitutional rights.
Ultimately, Ramirez's attorneys want him released.
Attorneys familiar with immigration court say it is often backlogged and hard to win cases.
Ramirez's attorneys say the court isn't the right place to consider the key constitutional issues in the case.
At Wednesday's hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue said he wouldn't immediately rule on the DOJ's motion to dismiss the case.
Donohue said the DOJ improperly included a new legal argument in a brief filed Tuesday that left Ramirez's lawyers with no time to respond.
Depending on whether the case is heard in federal court or the immigration courts, it could be a decision that lays groundwork for thousands of other dreamers who have been detained.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group