US & Canada

US frees Mexican man who was arrested despite work permit

Daniel Ramirez Medina walks with with his attorney, Luis Cortes, right, after Ramirez was freed from custody at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma Image copyright AP
Image caption Daniel Ramirez Medina (left) was released after more than six weeks

A 24-year-old Mexican man with a valid work permit who was arrested by US officials last month has been released, authorities say.

Immigration officials alleged Daniel Ramirez Medina had gang ties and should be deported. His lawyer denied this and called his arrest unconstitutional.

He has no criminal record.

Mr Ramirez was brought to the US illegally at the age of seven and was protected from deportation under one of President Barack Obama's policies.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was established in 2012 to allow those brought to America while young to attend school and work without fear of deportation.

His case is being closely watched by the more than 740,000 people in the programme, who fear they may lose their protections under President Donald Trump's government.

Those protected are often known as "dreamers" - a name taken from the failed 2010 Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) - a bill which aimed to help young illegal immigrants become US citizens.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents had intended to arrest his father at home in Seattle, but also detained Mr Ramirez on 10 February. Officials then revoked his protected status, AP news agency reported.

An immigration judge earlier this week granted his release on a $15,000 (£12,000) bond pending a decision on his immigration status.

Supporters welcomed Mr Ramirez in the lobby of a detention facility after he was freed on Wednesday. He nodded and smiled at reporters.

In a statement, Mr Ramirez's lawyer Mark Rosenbaum said this was "an important first step toward justice."

More on this story