The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency may soon deport an immigrant father of seven who has lived in Montana for two decades, according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) press release.
ICE agents detained Audemio Orozco-Ramirez when he checked in at a routine immigration appointment in Billings, Montana in August 2017, Yellowstone Public Radio reported. For the past five months, he has been held at the Denver Contract Detention Center, an immigration detention center used to hold people waiting for court proceedings in Aurora, Colorado.
“We had a phone call this morning from him saying that he might be deported within this week or next, he’s not sure,” his son Juan Orozco-Ramirez recently told Montana Public Radio (MTPR).
In a statement provided to ThinkProgress Thursday, an ICE spokesperson said Orozco-Ramirez’s status was pending “final disposition of proceedings before the immigration courts.”
Orozco-Ramirez came to the United States two decades ago, Great Falls Tribune reported. He was removed four times between September 2011 and November 2011 for illegally entering the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border, ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok told ThinkProgress based on an official statement released last year. According to the Great Falls Tribune, ICE detained Orozco-Ramirez during a traffic stop in Montana in 2013. An inmate reportedly raped him while in ICE custody at a Boulder jail in Jefferson County. The jail settled a civil lawsuit for $125,000 in 2016 and “did not admit fault,” ACLU said. He was released from ICE custody on an order of supervision in October 2013, which requires some immigrants to report to an ICE office on a mandatory schedule, but that was terminated in August 2017 when he went in for his routine check-in.
“Orozco-Ramirez claimed that he was drugged and sexually assaulted while he was housed in Jefferson County (Montana) Jail in October 2013,” Rusnok said. “These claims against Jefferson County, Montana, were investigated by federal and state agencies; the results of these investigations concluded that Audemio Orozco-Ramirez was not drugged or sexually assaulted.”
Yet Orozco-Ramirez’s former attorney Shahid Haque claimed that video of the sexual assault was deleted.
“There’s no adequate explanation for the missing footage,” Haque recently told MTPR. “Their explanation as to why there’s no footage during the night in question was that they claimed motion sensors made the cameras turn off. But we were able to show, without a doubt, that the video cuts out while there’s motion.”
“He is the sole financial provider for all seven children,” Haque told MTPR last August. “Without his financial support it’s going to be difficult for the family to visit their father until he’s returned to Montana.”
Orozco-Ramirez’s children range between ages four and 19, according to the ACLU, six of whom are U.S. citizens. The oldest is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who was given temporary deportation relief and work authorization thanks to an Obama-era executive action. But he may not be able to travel to visit his father if he’s deported. That’s because the Trump administration has effectively ended advance parole, the only way for DACA recipients to exit and re-enter the United States.
“My mom doesn’t want us to go out there because she just had one of her brothers murdered by the bad people,” Juan told MTPR in reference to the thought of having to visit his father in Mexico if he gets deported. “Yeah, he was… it was bad he was decapitated, shot sixteen times, tortured, burned up.”
The ICE agency’s arrest of Orozco-Ramirez during his routine immigration check-in is set against the background of an administration steadfast in its commitment to broaden the scope of “criminal” violations punishable by deportation. Many immigrants, including people with green cards, who committed and served out criminal sentences decades ago are now finding themselves in ICE custody. The ICE agency detained prominent immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir in New York City earlier this month for a 2001 conviction for wire fraud. Jean Montrevil, another immigrant rights activist who was convicted of possession of cocaine and served 11 years in prison, was deported to Haiti last week. And ICE agents recently detained Dr. Lukasz R. Niec, a Polish immigrant who holds a green card and lives in Michigan over “administrative violations” for misdemeanors he committed in 1992 as a teenager.