By Gene Johnson
The Associated Press
SEATTLE — A federal magistrate in Seattle said Monday he will not hold an immediate hearing to consider releasing a man arrested by immigration agents despite his participation in a federal program to protect people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James Donohue denied the request by lawyers for Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23. He noted he has already set an expedited briefing schedule, and oral arguments will go forward March 8.
“The court finds no basis to disturb the accelerated briefing schedule already set in this case,” Donohue wrote.
Ramirez, who is Mexican, was detained Feb. 10.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Ramirez admitted to having gang ties and was detained as a risk to public safety. His lawyers have called that “utterly fabricated” and accused them of doctoring a statement Ramirez gave by erasing key words. Ramirez’s lawyers noted that he has no criminal record.
To participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Ramirez twice passed background checks, most recently last spring.
Donohue previously declined a request to release Ramirez immediately, saying he should instead seek a detention hearing in immigration court. But his lawyers argued that his constitutional rights are being violated, that the proper venue for redressing that is in federal court and that he should be released on bond.
The Justice Department has argued that the federal court has no jurisdiction — a topic that will also be addressed at the March 8 hearing.
“The court has not ruled on the substance of our arguments calling for Daniel’s release,” Manny Rivera, a spokesman for Ramirez’s legal team, said in an email Monday. “We look forward to making the case to secure Daniel’s immediate release at that time.”