Local ‘Dreamer’ arrested by ICE

Inmate information from the Boone County Jail where Riccy Perdomo was detained after her arrest in Louisville.

A Cincinnati area woman, who was brought to the U.S. in 2004 at age 9, is being held by federal immigration authorities in a detention center near Chicago after she was arrested Aug. 17 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Louisville.

ICE agents arrested Riccy Enriquez Perdomo, 22, the mother of two young children, as she was helping a member of her church attend to a matter at the ICE office in Louisville, says her husband Ronnie Domingo. Agents said there was a problem with her identification. Then, without further explanation, they put her under arrest and told her she would be deported, Domingo said.

But there is no apparent legal basis for ICE to detain Perdomo, says Joshua Stehlik, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, who is assisting local attorney Teresa Cunningham with Perdomo’s case.

The Department of Homeland Security has twice granted Perdomo deferred action–a temporary protection from deportation–under a federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers,” also receive employment authorization. Dreamers can lose their temporary protected immigration status and employment authorization for various reasons, including criminal behavior.

Perdomo’s DACA status was renewed in January 2017 for a second two-year period, according to family members. Local activist Don Sherman says that in the last week he confirmed her DACA status with DHS.

But Cunningham says the Louisville ICE office informed her that Perdomo’s DACA status had expired and a 2004 removal order against her was still outstanding. Even though Cunningham has not been able to reach ICE officials about the status of Perdomo’s case, she filed a motion for a bond hearing in the event the case is still open. And she is considering other legal action to prevent deportation.

Perdomo was initially held in the Boone County Jail in Burlington, KY, then transported Aug. 21 to the Clay County Detention facility in Brazil, Ind., and the following day to the Pulaski County Detention Center in Ullin, Ill. As of Aug. 23, she was being held in the McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility in Woodstock, Ill. about 60 miles northwest of Chicago. If deported, Chicago would likely be her final destination before leaving the country.

“She was crying because she is missing her children,” ages 11 months and 5 years,  says Rita Perdomo, 32, who spoke with her younger sister on Monday. “She is scared. She doesn’t want to go to Chicago. She knows what happens there.”

Riccy Perdomo and children
Riccy Perdomo and her two children in April 2017. Photo provided.

“They are trying to deport people no matter what,” says the older Perdomo, while fighting through her own tears.

Perdomo’s case, says Stehlik, “causes concerns among DACA recipients, and immigrant communities more generally, about whether the government is going to honor its promise when it grants someone deferred action.” He says, there have been only a handful of such cases in which DACA recipients are deported.

DHS adopted the DACA program in June 2012 under the Obama administration, citing the need to use its immigration enforcement resources wisely by focusing on those immigrants who posed a national security or public safety threat rather than “against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.”

While President Trump’s administration has not officially changed the terms of the DACA program, the enforcement of immigration law is no longer limited to high priority suspects who have been convicted of felonies or present a national security risk.

“No population is off the table,” says Thomas D. Homan, acting ICE director, testifying on June 13 before the House Appropriations subcommittee.

President Trump has “taken the handcuffs off of law enforcement officers who are charged with enforcing immigration laws,” Homan said in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner. “Our priorities are criminals first, but if you’re asking me if we are going to put detainers on people that have not been convicted of a crime, yes we will,”

“ICE is open for business.”

By Mike Brown, mbrown.c4ad@gmail.com