Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez is a devoted father and husband. He worked full time in a body shop and had never been a member of a street gang. That didn’t stop CPD from listing him in the Gang Database and providing this false information to ICE.
On March 27, 2017, six ICE agents stormed Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s house without a warrant, slammed him to the ground, handcuffed him, and took him away. He spent the next ten months at McHenry County Jail – separated from his family, and denied necessary accommodations and medical care to treat the traumatic brain injury and partial paralysis he had sustained during a drive-by shooting a few months before as well as the injuries he sustained as a result of the ICE agents’ brutal use of force against him during their arrest.
The MacArthur Justice Center joined with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild to sue the City, ICE, McHenry County, and the medical care provider of McHenry County Jail on Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s behalf. We secured him the necessary medical care and accommodations while he was in custody. We then secured his freedom from ICE detention and cleared his name in the CPD’s Gang Database.
After more than 10 months in an ICE detention, Mr. Catalan-Ramirez is back with his wife and three children.
A settlement was reached with the City where CPD agreed to write a letter to federal immigration officials in support of Mr. Catalan-Ramirez’s visa application, explaining that CPD cannot verify that he is a gang member. This letter was also uploaded into the Gang Database to correct the false gang designation.
Mr. Catalan-Ramirez remains detained in McHenry County Jail, denied needed medical care for his injuries and spends most of his day isolated in a cell. Because of the lack of medical care, he risks living for the rest of his life with partial paralysis.
Six ICE agents entered Catalan-Ramirez’ family’s apartment without a warrant, slammed him to the floor and handcuffed him – aggravating preexisting injuries Mr. Catalan-Ramirez received two months earlier as a bystander of a drive by shooting.
Wilmer’s case is an example of how local city policies, such as the Gang Database, put immigrant communities in the path of Trump’s deportation machine. If the City of Chicago truly wants to be a sanctuary city where immigrants can seek safe refuge, it should stop sharing its Gang Database with ICE and inform ICE the database is rife with inaccuracies and is not a legitimate law enforcement tool.