ICE tried to deport a Michigan-born Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports.
Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a Marine lance corporal and tank crewman born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was detained by ICE and set for deportation despite his lawyer saying that his proof of citizenship, veteran’s birth certificate, and Social Security information were readily available.
“I was shocked,” attorney Richard Kessler told The Post. “Everybody knows that Jilmar is a U.S. citizen and a Marines vet.”
“I immediately called ICE and shouted at them,” he said. “And they called me back and said, kind of, ‘Oops, yeah, come and get him.’ They didn’t say, ‘Our bad,’ but kind of implied that.”
Ramos-Gomez served in the Marines between 2011 and 2014, earning a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and a combat action ribbon.
In November, he was arrested on arson and property destruction charges after he set a fire at a hospital. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor trespassing charge instead and was ordered to be released in December. Instead, his mother learned he had been taken to an immigration detention facility.
“At that point, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department should have immediately released Mr. Ramos-Gomez,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Instead, the Sheriff’s Department worked with ICE agents to enable his transfer to an immigration detention center in Calhoun County to start the deportation process. … It is unclear how that was possible or why the jail believed it should hand Mr. Ramos-Gomez over to ICE, rather than release him as required by the court order."
The group said Ramos-Gomez was subject to an ICE detainer.
He was held at the facility for nearly two weeks before Kessler was able to get him released.
ICE accused of racial profiling:
Kessler told The Post that he believes ICE met with Ramos-Gomez at the jail. The agency said that the veteran “repeatedly claimed to be a foreign citizen unlawfully present in the United States.”
But Kessler said that doesn’t explain why they wanted to talk to him in the first place or why they didn’t bother to verify his information.
“I think it’s racial stereotyping,” Kessler said. “And it should have been evident that he had pretty significant mental- health issues.”
Ramos-Gomez among countless veterans with PTSD:
According to the ACLU, Ramos-Gomez returned from Afghanistan suffering from “severe effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“His family reports that he is focused on returning for his marine brothers in Afghanistan,” the ACLU said in a statement. “He has episodes where he disappears and when he is found again, he often has no recollection of where he has been.”
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 20 percent of Marine veterans who were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD.