A mom is reeling after her son, a U.S.-born Marine veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, was held for days for deportation by federal immigration authorities. "I almost had a heart attack when I heard that my son was in immigration's hands," said Maria Gomez. "They don't care what he did for his country. That makes me mad."
Lance corporal and tank crewman Jilmar Ramos-Gomez had been handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Kent County, Michigan, jail where he was being held after being “accused of trespassing and damaging a fire alarm at a Grand Rapids hospital,” NBC News reports. “ICE contacted the jail and requested that Ramos-Gomez be held for pickup. Kent County Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt said ICE, like other law enforcement agencies, has access to fingerprint records. ‘Once he was released from our custody, he was under the domain of ICE. Where they take him is their process,’ DeWitt said. ‘Our procedures were followed.’”
Perhaps the procedures need to be reviewed. Better yet, completely thrown out. The decorated veteran, born in Grand Rapids, was held for three days by ICE, until his family was able to secure his release. “His mental health has deteriorated even further as a result of his unlawful incarceration,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan said. “This terrible incident,” the organization continued, “is the predictable consequence of the sheriff’s department’s decision to volunteer its resources to support ICE’s efforts to deport Kent County residents, a policy that the community has repeatedly and persuasively asked the department to end.”
A policy that resulted in a U.S. citizen’s detention. Ramos-Gomez is currently receiving mental health treatment while the ACLU advocates for his case. “Why did they think he was a non-citizen?” asked attorney Miriam Aukerman. Looking at his name, and his skin color, it’s easy to see why.