Antonio Ramirez-Poledo could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced for entering the country illegally. However, federal prosecutors are recommending that he be released for time served.
The father of a so-called Dreamer — the young man whose arrest in Des Moines by immigration officials sparked fears of an immigration roundup and drew a national outcry — pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to entering the country illegally.
Court documents indicate that Antonio Ramirez-Poledo, 43, could face up to 20 years in prison because he has a prior drug felony in King County. However, federal prosecutors are recommending in a plea agreement filed with the court that he be released for time served when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez.
Martinez is not bound by the prosecutor’s recommendation.
Ramirez-Poledo will likely face immediate deportation back to Mexico after the sentence is served.
He was deported from the U.S. at Paso del Norte, Texas, in 2004, after he was convicted in King County for possessing heroin and cocaine for distribution. He then returned to King County.
According to the criminal complaint, Ramirez-Poledo spent a year and a day in jail after his drug arrest and was then ordered deported. The complaint states that, in addition to the deportation, Ramirez-Poledo had been granted seven “voluntary departures,” including five in 2000, one in 2001 and another in 2006.
Ramirez-Poledo was arrested Feb. 10 outside a home in Des Moines after he was located by an agent from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Criminal Alien Program. Agents also took his 23-year-old son, Daniel Ramirez Medina, into custody.
The younger man had been brought to the country as a child and had been legally allowed to stay under the Obama administration’s 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which deferred deportation or other adverse immigration actions against individuals who entered the U.S. illegally as children.
Proponents call its participants Dreamers, alluding to their desire to become U.S. citizens.
The arrest was the first involving a DACA-eligible immigrant under the Trump administration, and immigration and civil-rights officials reacted by suing ICE over his detention.
However, ICE insisted that the son was a gang member, and he remains in custody. His lawyers have disputed that claim and alleged government misconduct.