Feds grant deportation amnesty to high-profile ‘Dreamer’ who challenged Trump-era crackdown

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The Biden administration reached a deal Wednesday granting a four-year stay of deportation and a chance at permanent legal status to a high-profile illegal immigrant “Dreamer” who claimed he’d been unfairly targeted by the Trump administration.

Daniel Ramirez Medina’s case was an early test of the Trump team’s approach when he was arrested and put into deportation proceedings in 2017 despite holding status under DACA. After a legal battle, Homeland Security announced it wouldn’t renew his DACA status, putting him in potential danger of deportation.

Mr. Ramirez Medina then shot back with a $450,000 tort claim.

Under the new deal, he gives up those claims and the government rewards him with four years of tentative status in the U.S. without fear of deportation, giving him time to try to seek a pathway to permanent residence.

“This settlement essentially gives Mr. Ramirez Medina a clean slate as he works to obtain legal status in the United States,” said Nick Brown, the U.S. attorney in western Washington who worked out the deal. “I am pleased that this settlement involves no monetary payment and yet goes to the core of what Mr. Ramirez Medina wants: a fair chance to obtain legal status in the U.S.”

Mr. Ramirez Medina was arrested on Feb. 10, 2017. Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had gone to a Washington home to arrest his father and then picked up the son, too.

He had told them he had status under DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era deportation amnesty that remains in effect today, protecting hundreds of thousands of young adult illegal immigrant Dreamers from deportation.

Officers detained him anyway and then accused him of being in a gang, despite his protestations. They sparred over whether a tattoo he had was a gang symbol or was instead related to a region of Mexico.

A federal judge would step in and find the gang claims to be bogus. The judge ordered Mr. Ramirez Medina released and his DACA status restored.

But when Mr. Ramirez Medina came up for another DACA renewal in 2018, he was denied.

He challenged that denial and filed his tort claim.

The federal judge, while complaining about the government’s treatment, said he didn’t have the authority to overturn Homeland Security’s decision.

Mr. Ramirez Medina appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case has been stuck in mediation.

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