US Marine Veteran Detained By ICE Agents, Threatened With Deportation

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A West Michigan family is outraged and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is spreading word of their case after U.S. Marine veteran Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for three days.

According to Law and Crime, Ramos-Gomez was arrested on Nov. 21 for allegedly damaging a fire alarm while trespassing on a heliport. ICE took him into custody on Dec. 14, 2018, based on information from the same case.

Ramos-Gomez was not only born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he served in the US Marine Corps as a tank crewman. He attained the rank of lance corporal before he left the military, earning a national defense service medal, war on terror service medal, a combat action ribbon, and other accolades.

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USMC veteran Jilmar Ramos-Gomez.


The ACLU is now demanding the Kent County Sheriff’s Department investigate Ramos-Gomez’ detention, which it blames on the “predictable consequence of the Sheriff’s Department’s decision to volunteer its resources to support ICE’s efforts to deport Kent County residents.”

Kent County Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt maintains that his department has done nothing wrong.

“Our procedures were followed,” DeWitt said. “[Ramos-Gomez] was under the domain of ICE. Where they take him is their process.”

Source: YouTube/WOOD TV8
Ramos-Gomez’ mother, Maria Gomez-Velasquez, was shocked to hear her son was detained by ICE.


Police reports detail Ramos-Gomez’ arrest timeline as follows:

Ramos-Gomez had his passport on him when he was arrested near the heliport in November.

He pled guilty to a trespassing charge, and the judge ordered him released on a personal recognizance bond on Friday, December 14, 2018, pending a pre-sentence investigation.

The Sheriff’s Department then worked with ICE agents and Ramos-Gomez was sent to an immigration detention center in Calhoun County, facing deportation.

Ramos-Gomez was indicated in the records of an ICE hold, and turned over on December 14, 2018, contrary to a court order for his release.

Ramos-Gomez’ mother visited the Kent County Jail to pay for her son’s release and bring him home on Dec. 14, but was instead told he was detained by ICE agents.

“You just can’t understand what I felt like when I went outside,” Ramos-Gomez’s mother, Maria Gomez-Velasquez told NPR. “I started to cry bitterly. I said, I can’t believe this.”


Source: YouTube/WOOD TV8
The ACLU is supporting Gomez-Velasquez and Ramos-Gomez
as they seek justice.

Three days later, on Monday, Dec. 17, with help from attorney Richard Kessler, Ramos-Gomez was released from the Calhoun immigration detention center, over 60 miles away.

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Kessler has argued that Ramos-Gomez suffers from PTSD, and that the incident has only exacerbated his symptoms of depression and anxiety.

According to NPR, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department intentionally follows a policy of cooperating with ICE agents when they request to hold someone, though there is no obligation to offer that cooperation.

Watch Gomez-Velasquez’ reaction to the incident in the video below.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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