Audemio Orozco-Ramirez, a 44-year-old Montanan and father of seven, today was detained following a routine check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Billings. Orozco-Ramirez was released from ICE custody in 2013 after being raped by a fellow inmate at the Boulder jail in Jefferson County. The jail settled a civil lawsuit for $125,000, but did not admit fault. No criminal charges were ever filed.
Shahid Haque, attorney for Orozco-Ramirez, said that after his client was sexually assaulted, he was released from ICE custody and given a work permit, and that ICE has given no justification for changing course.
“My client was the victim of a sexual assault while in ICE custody, and instead of taking responsibility for this, ICE is trying to sweep this under the rug by deporting him,” Haque said. “He should be released and returned to his family who needs him.”
Community members gathered outside the ICE detention center in Billings to protest Orozco-Ramirez’s detention and call for his immediate release.
“Deporting Orozco-Ramirez quickly and secretly is a new low for ICE,” said Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana. “It appears that they are trying to get rid of him because he was raped in their custody. And unless the public speaks up, they will get away with it.”
Borgmann encouraged the public to call ICE at (406) 495-2170 to demand they release Orozco-Ramirez.
Orozco-Ramirez lives with his wife and seven children, ages four to 19, in Vida, a rural town in northeastern Montana. Six of his children are United States citizens and the oldest is a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Orozco-Ramirez works as a ranch hand and his wife is a stay-at-home mom. Orozco-Ramirez has lived in the United States for 20 years.