Immigration

ICE Agents Arrest Former DACA Recipient in West Covina

The 23-year-old is a DACA recipient but intentionally didn't renew her status out of fear, her sister said.

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An Azusa family is scared and frustrated after an immigration arrest has separated them just days before Christmas.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took Daniella Ramirez, 23, into custody at 5:30 a.m. Friday while she was at work at the Marriott hotel in West Covina, according to family and friends.

Sonia Meza, a family friend, received a call from Ramirez, who said she was being arrested before the phone hung up.

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Ramirez worked full time in the kitchen and as a receptionist at the hotel for the past two years. She entered the United States from Mexico as a 10-year-old girl with her older sister, Carmen Ramirez. Both of them became DACA recipients.

Carmen Ramirez said her sister graduated from Azusa High School and her DACA status expired two years ago when she intentionally didn’t renew it out of fear.

"She heard from somebody that she’s not supposed to renew it because they will send her to jail," she said.

Daniella Ramirez has "no criminal record, nothing, just wanting to live the American dream. She was always worried because of the Trump administration," Meza said.

Within the past year, ICE has begun reopening closed cases against DACA recipients with no criminal records.

Acting ICE press secretary Bryan D. Cox released a statement to NBCLA, which read in part:

"This is not new, or specific to DACA. That said, all cases that were formerly administratively closed are being re-calendared."

"I'm not surprised what they doing right now. They do whatever they want to do," Carmen Ramirez said. "It’s like we don’t have a voice."

Meza said she worries for her friend’s safety and is concerned something could happen to her.

It was not immediately clear why Daniella Ramirez was arrested. It could take at least two weeks until a hearing is scheduled.

If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up for Daniella Ramirez, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 2.9 percent of all funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation, in the form of payment processing charges.

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