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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

ACLU Sues ICE About Detaining U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Maria Vasquez Gomes

 Last Thanksgiving Jilmar Ramos-Gomez suffered a PTSD-related mental health episode and the Grand Rapids Police Department arrested him on the roof of the Butterworth Spectrum Health hospital in Grand Rapids. 

An off-duty GRPD captain asked Immigration Customs Enforcement to “check his status.” Despite extensive evidence of his U.S. citizenship, Ramos-Gomez was taken into ICE into custody with his American passport in his possession on December of last year the same day he was to be released from Kent County Jail.

“Here ICE was in possession of absolutely clear, unequivocal evidence that Jilmar was a United States citizen…they even knew he was a marine and yet they locked him up and tried to deport him, they ignored all of that other evidence, and this is not an isolated incident.” 

That’s Miriam Aukerman from the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. According to government data, in 2016, over 800 citizens were held in immigration detention centers; but according to Aukerman ICE is refusing to hand over data on wrongfully detained and deported U.S. Citizens and legal immigrants. 

“And we need to make sure that ICE releases not just information about why they tried to deport this U.S. citizen even though they had evidence that he was a U.S. citizen but also how many more people have suffered in the same way, how many other U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been detained and deported by ICE.”  

Ramos-Gomez's mother, Maria Gomez-Velasquez would like the community at large to hold ICE responsible for what happened to her son. WGVU reached out to ICE and our calls were not returned. 

“ICE doesn’t know who they are going to pick up. They just can’t treat people like that.” 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.  

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