Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan ends up in immigration detention center

Ra'eesah Manack
Jan 19, 2019
03:15 A.M.
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In an unexpected turn of events, a Marine veteran has ended up in an immigration detention center. The U.S. citizen served in Afghanistan only to face threats of deportation now.


Family members of a U.S. citizen and military veteran are demanding answers from the government. The Marine apparently ended up in an immigration detention center and is now facing the threat of deportation and his family want to know how this is possible.

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was born and raised in Grand Rapids. His mother revealed that he served a tour in Afghanistan as part of the U.S. Marine Corps.


It is reported that he was arrested in November after allegedly setting a fire at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids. He then apparently pulled the fire alarm and made it onto the helipad.

His family revealed he was set to be released from the Kent County jail on a personal recognizance bond on December 14. However, instead of coming home he was taken to the Calhoun County Jail for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


"I almost had a heart attack when I heard that my son was in immigration's hands," his mother, Maria Gomez said on Wednesday. "They don't care what he did for his country. That makes me mad."

Kent County Undersheriff, Chuck DeWitt said in a statement to the media that Ramos-Gomez was kept in custody because ICE was investigating him. DeWitt went on to add that the department was required under contract to tell the federal agency that Ramos-Gomez was set for release.


"If you want to look at a timeline, we're looking at from November 21st, when he first came to our facility on local charges, until December 14th," DeWitt said. "61 minutes later (after the jail was notified of the bond), the ICE 203 (hold) comes into play and now Mr. Ramos-Gomez is under federal authority, ICE authority, and he is picked up by Calhoun County."

ICE revealed in a statement on Wednesday that it flagged Ramos-Gomez for detention. The statement which was released through the sheriff's department explained that he apparently told ICE officials during a November 23 interview that he was a foreign national living illegally in the country.


ICE went on to explain that until December 17, they were unaware that the marine veteran was a U.S citizen. It took a phone call from Ramos-Gomez's lawyer to set the record straight and get him released.

ICE official Vincent Picard said no employees will be suspended. He added that the department does not intend to further investigate the incident.

"Officers acted in good faith with the information they had available at the time," he wrote, denying wrongdoing.


Ramos-Gomez's mom said he had his passport and identification on him when ICE took him.

"I started to cry bitterly. I said, 'I can't believe this.' Besides, my son fought for this country," Maria Gomez said in Spanish, speaking through a translator.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Michigan Immigration Rights Center have joined Ramos-Gomez's family attorney in demanding answers from the Kent County Sheriff's Department and ICE.