Immigration Customs and Enforcement officials are making their presence known throughout the US. Their most significant appearance happened in the Northwest, where 84 people were detained over several days in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, according to The Associated Press — the largest sweep yet in the US.
Among those taken into ICE custody were three DREAMers. Luis Gerado Zazueta was arrested on March 23. Both Francisco Rodriguez-Dominguez and Emmanuel Ayala Frutos were detained on Sunday, March 26. All three were taken to Northwest Detention Center – where fellow DREAMer Daniel Ramirez Medina was kept for almost two months.
With the help of his community, Dominguez was released the next day.
Currently, the ACLU of Oregon is working to have Frutos, who sufferers from bipolar disorder and is recovering from an accident, released.
Zazueta is also still detained and faces deportation because of a crime he committed three years ago as a high schooler.
In July 2014, the Mexican native pleaded guilty to selling a $20 bag of weed to a classmate on their walk to school, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
If he were an American, the offense could have been expunged after almost two years under Oregon law, defense lawyer Bear Wilner-Nugent told WW.
He wrote in an email:
"As long as Mr. Zazueta does not have any other criminal convictions anywhere in the world. Based on the review I have just completed of his Washington County criminal file, it is my professional opinion that he is now eligible to have that conviction set aside ('expunged')."
But since he's not American, this didn't apply to him. Zazueta arrived in the US from Mexico at the age of 3.
Zazueta didn’t renew his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application after his conviction because he was no longer eligible, according to Maria Zlateva, his immigration attorney.
If he had still been, it could have stopped his deportation, similar to DREAMer Josué Romero, who was arrested for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana.
“It’s always sad when the country deports a young kid like this,” she told News Times. “But nobody can stop it.”
ICE cites this offense as the reason for targeting him while he went to the Washington County Courthouse for a DUI charge hearing.
"I am not happy with way ICE detained him," said Zlateva. "ICE shouldn't be at [the] courthouse, but they are. They come, look at [the] docket and wait for the Hispanics to show up."
Rose Richeson, ICE spokesperson, said in a statement:
"[Zazueta] was targeted for immigration enforcement based on a prior felony drug conviction. Mr. Zazueta was transferred to the Northwest Detention Center where he remains in ICE custody awaiting the outcome of removal proceedings."
The ACLU of Oregon disagrees with actions taken against DREAMers who have made mistakes.
"It's a sad testament to how the failed war on drugs continues to impact communities of color at disproportionate rates," Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon, told WW.
"Ultimately we as a country have to rethink these policies and account for the fact that young people make mistakes. We want them to learn from their mistakes and not to have their life completely ruined."