In March 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the home of Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, believing him to be a gang member and undocumented immigrant.
After filing a lawsuit, Catalan-Ramirez was finally released from ICE custody on Monday.
Catalan-Ramirez, who is 31, was seriously injured during the raid which happened without a warrant. He has never had any gang affiliations and has no criminal record.
He was also severely injured after being the victim of a drive-by shooting in January of 2017. The attack during the home invasion further aggravated these injuries.
While being held for that last eight months at the ICE center in McHenry County, he has been denied proper medical attention, according to his attorneys.
Sejal Zota, legal director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, said, “This case demonstrates that ICE’s use of gang databases is deeply troubling, especially when ICE increasingly vilifies immigrants as gang members to justify its extreme enforcement policies.”
Vanessa del Valle, attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center, hopes this case will result in a full audit of the Chicago Police Department’s gang database.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. A man sued the agency last year after being arrested by ICE and detained for three weeks without seeing a judge, despite the fact that he is a United States citizen.
Rony Chavez Aguilar came to the United States legally in 1991 and officially became a citizen in 2001. He was also held briefly in Chicago.
The documented complaint reads: “ICE Chicago did not obtain a judicial warrant to arrest Plaintiff; has not provided a sworn, particularized statement of probable cause; has not promptly brought him before a detached and neutral judicial officer for a probable cause hearing; or has not brought him before a judge to understand the charges against him and receive important advisals regarding his due process rights, amongst other procedural protections.”