Media Contact

Dana Chicklas, (734) 945-8857, dchicklas@aclumich.org

November 20, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DETROIT – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU), together with cooperating attorneys at Loevy & Loevy, filed a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for records related to the detention of former Marine Corps veteran and U.S. citizen Jilmar Ramos-Gomez. This lawsuit also seeks: data and policies on wrongfully detained and deported U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and legal immigrants; and policies and procedures regarding people with mental health issues or disabilities.

“Jilmar Ramos-Gomez fought and served our country selflessly, yet ICE tried to deport this hometown hero and blatantly disregarded his citizenship, service, and mental health challenges,” said Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan. “Mr. Ramos-Gomez, and the public, deserve to know why the United States government abused its own citizen and veteran, and how many others have suffered in the same way.”

The ACLU and cooperating attorneys also filed an administrative claim against ICE and DHS seeking damages for Ramos-Gomez under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The claim lays out the information ICE had clearly showing Ramos-Gomez was a U.S. citizen and Marine, and alleges that ICE detained and tried to deport him anyway. The wrongful ICE detention of Ramos-Gomez worsened his PTSD to the point where he required hospitalization shortly after his release; he now rarely leaves his home or spends time in his community.

“This is flagrant racial discrimination against a United States citizen and decorated combat veteran simply because of the color of his skin,” said Anand Swaminathan, ACLU cooperating attorney and partner at the Chicago law firm Loevy & Loevy. “Ramos-Gomez’s own government ignored his irrefutable proof of citizenship, and cruelly detained him because of his Latinx background.”

On Nov. 21, 2018, Ramos-Gomez suffered a PTSD-related mental health episode and the Grand Rapids Police arrested him on the roof of the Spectrum Health hospital in Grand Rapids. An off-duty GRPD captain asked ICE to “check his status.” Despite extensive evidence of his U.S. citizenship, Ramos-Gomez was taken into ICE into custody on Dec. 14, 2018, the day he was to be released from Kent County Jail. Ramos-Gomez spent three days in ICE detention, where his mental health severely deteriorated, and where he and fellow detainees were mistreated and ridiculed.

Counsel on for Mr. Ramos-Gomez’s administrative claim and for the litigation to obtain his records include attorneys from the ACLU of Michigan, Loevy & Loevy, Richard Kessler, and the ACLU of the District of Columbia.

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