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Immigration Authorities Target Oregon ‘Dreamer’ Over DUI

Federal authorities targeted a so-called "DREAMer" in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend because of a driving under the influence charge from December, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told NBC News on Monday.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, was released on unspecified bond from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties of Oregon said.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez ACLU of Oregon

Rodriguez Dominguez is one of a handful of detainees who enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, and have been detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The program, authorized in 2012, allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to gain temporary protection from deportation. DACA built upon proposals in the failed DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act of 2001.

Related: Was It Legal for ICE to Arrest Young Immigrant with DACA Status?

Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, told NBC News that the DUI charge was a misdemeanor, and that Rodriguez Dominguez entered a diversion program and was in the process of completing the program’s requirements when he was detained.

"If they allowed him to complete the program, he wouldn’t have a criminal record at all," dos Santos said.

Rodriguez Dominguez was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 5 and has been enrolled in DACA since 2013, the group said in a statement.

That status, which program recipients must renew every two years, is likely current until August, dos Santos told NBC News.

On Sunday morning, dos Santos said, several immigration agents arrived at his family’s home in Portland.

“He went downstairs to tell them he was a DACA recipient,” Dos Santos said. “They said, ‘It doesn’t matter.’”

DHS Secretary John Kelly: DACA is 'Least of My Worries' 0:41

The Department of Homeland Security has previously said that DACA recipients can lose their protection if they're found to pose a national security or public safety threat.

The ICE spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, told NBC News that the agency considered driving under the influence to be among the latter.

Dos Santos pointed out that Rodriguez Dominguez was a church volunteer who, through a community advocacy group, helps distribute food to poor families at a local middle school. He described the DUI as a mistake that Rodriguez is being unjustly punished for.

"This is a person who is an upstanding member of our community," he said. "He was well on his way to making up for his mistake."

He added that Rodriguez Dominguez's arrest further muddied the already confused status of Dreamers under the new president.

"We don’t know what’s going to happen to DACA recipients under the Trump Administration," he said. "These are people who were promised an opportunity to work if they came out of the shadows and registered with the government. We're pushing them back into the shadows by enforcing by these minor infractions."

As of February, roughly 1,500 people with criminal convictions or gang affiliations had lost DACA protection over the last five years, though more than 700,000 enrolled during the same time.

Related: Release Denied for ‘Dreamer’ Detained by Immigration Agents

In nearby Washington State, another Dreamer who was detained last month was told on Monday he’d have to remain in a federal facility, despite his protected status, the Associated Press reported.

Image: Daniel Ramirez Medina
Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, a Mexican immigrant with a work permit who was arrested near Seattle. Courtesy Manny Rivera via Reuters

Immigration authorities claimed that Daniel Ramirez Medina, 24, acknowledged affiliating with gangs —though he has denied the claim, has no criminal record and has passed two background checks.

“Many questions remain regarding the appropriateness of the government's conduct" in Ramirez Medina’s arrest, said the judge, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, the AP reported.

But, Martinez added, those questions would have to be pursed in an immigration court.