United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
and 12(b)(6). Dkt. #90. For the reasons discussed herein, the
Court DENIES the motion.
Plaintiff Daniel Ramirez Medina
Daniel Ramirez Medina, is 24 years old, and the father of an
American-born son. Dkt. #78 at ¶ 5. According to his
Second Amended Complaint, Mr. Ramirez was brought to this
country from Mexico in or around 2003, when he was
approximately 10 years old. Id. Mr. Ramirez alleges
that he recently moved from California to Washington to
obtain more lucrative employment to better support his
2013, Mr. Ramirez first applied for deferred action and work
authorization pursuant to the government's
“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”
(“DACA”) policy. Dkt. #78 at ¶ 41. As part
of this process, Mr. Ramirez provided the government with his
birth certificate, school records, and information about
where he lived, and was required to attend a biometrics
appointment so that United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services (“USCIS”) could take his fingerprints
and photographs. Dkt. #78 at ¶ 41. Mr. Ramirez was
granted deferred action and work authorization in 2014.
2016, Mr. Ramirez reapplied for DACA status, and again was
granted deferred action and work authorization.
Id.at ¶ 42. As part of this process, Mr.
Ramirez received an approval notice (the “2016 DACA
Approval Notice”) informing him that his request for
deferred action had been granted. Id. The 2016 DACA
Approval Notice provided that “[u]nless terminated,
this decision to defer removal action will remain in effect
for 2 years” and is valid until May 4, 2018.
Id., Ex. G. The 2016 DACA Approval Notice also
informed Mr. Ramirez that his deferred action could be
terminated if he engaged in “[s]ubsequent criminal
February 10, 2017, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a team of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)
agents arrested Mr. Ramirez's father outside of the
apartment where Mr. Ramirez, his father, and his brother were
then living. Id. at ¶ 44. ICE agents entered
the apartment. Id. The agents found Mr. Ramirez
asleep, woke him up, and began to question him. Id.
at ¶ 45. Mr. Ramirez provided the agents with his name
and birthdate, and told them that he was born in Mexico. Mr.
Ramirez was then placed in handcuffs. Id.
to Mr. Ramirez, he told the ICE agents repeatedly that he had
a legal work permit, but the ICE agents refused to release
him. Id. at ¶ 46. Mr. Ramirez's father also
repeatedly informed the ICE agents that Mr. Ramirez had a
legal work permit, and questioned why he was being detained.
Ramirez was then transported to an ICE holding facility in
Tukwila, Washington. Id. at ¶ 47. At the
holding facility, the ICE agents confiscated Mr.
Ramirez's work permit. Id. at ¶ 48. That
permit was marked with a “C33” designation, which
identified Mr. Ramirez as a DACA recipient with work
authorization. Dkt. #78, Ex. F at 112. The ICE agents also
fingerprinted Mr. Ramirez and used this information to access
his records, which revealed that Mr. Ramirez has no criminal
history, had twice been granted DACA status, and possessed
valid employment authorization through May 4, 2018.
Id. at ¶ 49. Defendants refused to release Mr.
Ramirez even after they confirmed his DACA status.
Id. at ¶ 50. Defendants subsequently cited Mr.
Ramirez's receipt of DACA as evidence of his
“illegal” status in this country. Id.,
Ex. H at 3.
to Mr. Ramirez, the ICE agents began to interrogate him,
asking him numerous times whether he was in a gang, which he
denied, and whether he had ever known anyone who was a gang
member. Id. at ¶ 51. Mr. Ramirez told the
agents that although he knew students who had attended middle
school and high school with him who were in gangs, he was not
gang affiliated and never had been. Id. The ICE
agents also asked Mr. Ramirez about the tattoo on his forearm
(which consisted of the words “La Paz-BCS” and a
nautical star). Id.at ¶ 52. Mr. Ramirez got the
tattoo when he was 18 years old. La Paz is Mr. Ramirez's
birthplace, and “BCS” stands for Baja California
Sur, the region in which La Paz is located. Id. The
agents apparently insisted to Mr. Ramirez that it was a gang
tattoo, which he also denied. Id.at 53.
to being transferred to the Northwest Detention Center, the
ICE agents asked Mr. Ramirez if there were any gangs with
which he would like to avoid being placed for his safety.
Id. at ¶ 54. Mr. Ramirez again stated that he
had no gang affiliation and would not have problems being
placed with anyone. Dkt. #78 at ¶ 54. Upon continued
questioning, Mr. Ramirez ultimately indicated that if he had
to be placed with any group, he would prefer “the
Paisas.” Id. Mr. Ramirez understands the
colloquial use of “Paisas” to mean Mexicans, and
was attempting to communicate that if given the option, he
would prefer to be placed with other Mexicans. Id.
Ramirez was then transferred to Northwest Detention Center,
where he remained in custody for the next 47 days.
Id. at ¶ 55. While at the Detention Center,
Defendants classified Mr. Ramirez as a
“medium-high” security risk. Id. at
¶ 59. Mr. Ramirez requested that he be reclassified
because he was not, and never had been, gang affiliated.
Id. The request was denied. Id. During his
detention, Mr. Ramirez asserts that he feared for his safety
because many of the other inmates believed he was affiliated
with a gang due to the statements made after his arrest.
issued a Notice to Appear (“NTA”) on February 10,
2017. Dkt. #78, Ex. I. Defendants assert that Mr.
Ramirez's DACA status terminated on the day the NTA was
issued. Dkts. #78 at ¶ ¶ 60 and 61, Ex. J and #90
then sent Mr. Ramirez a Notice of Action (“NOA”)
dated February 17, 2017. Dkt. #78, Ex. J. The NOA states that
Mr. Ramirez's deferred action and employment
authorization terminated on the date the NTA was issued, and
provides that “[a]n appeal or motion to
reopen/reconsider this notice of action may not be
meantime, on February 13, 2017, Mr. Ramirez filed a Petition
for Habeas Corpus in this Court. Dkt. #1. This Court
ultimately declined to order the release of Mr. Ramirez and
directed him to file a motion in Immigration Court. Dkt. #69.
Pursuant to that Order, Mr. Ramirez filed such motion and
received a bond hearing in Immigration Court on March 28,
2017. Dkt. #78 at ¶ 78. Mr. Ramirez was released on bond
on March 29, 2017. Id., Ex. V.
April 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint in
this matter. Dkt. #78. In that Complaint, Plaintiff drops his
habeas claim, and alleges claims against several federal
agencies, as well as individual officers. Id. The
claims against the individual Defendant have since been
dismissed. Dkt. #112. Against the remaining federal agencies,
collectively, Plaintiff asserts the following claims: 1)
violations of the Administrative Procedures Act
(“APA”) (Counts One and Two); and 2) violation of
the Fifth Amendment (Count 8). Dkt. #78 at ¶ ¶ 85-105
The DACA Program
15, 2012, former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet
Napolitano announced the creation of the DACA program. Dkt.
#78, Ex. C (“Napolitano Memo”). In her
memorandum, Ms. Napolitano provided DHS with guidelines
regarding the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion to
focus enforcement efforts away from low priority cases,
including individuals who came to the United States as
children. Id. The Napolitano Memo listed the
following five criteria that must be satisfied before an
individual can be considered for an exercise of prosecutorial
discretion under DACA:
• came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
• has continuously resided in the United States for a
least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is
present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
• is currently in school, has graduated from high
school, has obtained a general education development
certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the
Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
• has not been convicted of a felony offense, a
significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor
offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or
public safety; and
• is not above the age of thirty.
Dkt. #78, Ex. C. Individuals must also pass a criminal
background check to be eligible for DACA. Id. at 2.
the DACA program, deferred action is provided for a renewable
period of two years, and DACA recipients are eligible to
apply for work authorization during the period of deferred
action. Id. at 3; see also 8 C.F.R. §
274a.12(c)(14) (permitting USCIS to establish a specific
period for employment authorization for aliens who have been
granted deferred action).
National Standard Operating Procedures (“SOP”)
issued by DHS describe the procedures to be followed in
adjudicating DACA requests and terminating DACA status.
See Dkts. #78, Ex. F (“DACA National Standard
Operating Procedures (“SOP”)”, dated April
4, 2013) and #109-1, Ex. A (excerpts of DACA SOP, dated
August 28, 2013). The SOP states that it is applicable to all