US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have taken into custody a 23-year-old man brought to the US as a young child, but had applied for, and was GRANTED, Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), with his work permit valid until 2018!
This was one of the first times a DACA applicant has been taken into custody, and it is creating anxiety among the over 700,000 young people who had applied for DACA and their families. This is especially true after other reports of ICE raids throughout the country.
According to ICE, they went to this young man’s home to arrest his father. While there, ICE agents questioned this young man, whom ICE described as a “self – admitted gang member.” As a result of being a gang member, he was an enforcement priority, and should not have the protection of DACA. According to this young man’s lawyers, he “unequivocally denies” he has been in a gang. Instead, he was repeatedly pressured by ICE agents to falsely admit he was a gang member. He has no criminal record and had twice filed for and was approved for DACA
It is unclear if the Trump administration will now target DACA recipients as enforcement priorities. President Trump has stated that, “They [DACA applicants] are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody. We’re going to have a very strong border.” However, there are no details yet of how the Trump administration is going to “take care” of DACA recipients. Let’s hope Congress will pass the DREAM Act, which would be a law providing a pathway to legalization. DACA was merely a program or executive action brought by Pres. Obama when Congress failed to pass the Dream Act.
Still, it is worrisome that ICE agents are targeting DACA applicants, because when this program was rolled out (or introduced), the federal government more or less promised DACA recipients would not be targeted for deportation, nor would they be considered an enforcement priority. After all, to be eligible for DACA, you have to be fingerprinted and be crime – free. Moreover, a person would be an enforcement priority for gang activity only if they were convicted of an offense in connection with gang related activities, not for merely being affiliated with a gang.
Let’s just hope this is merely a fluke, and this DACA recipient will soon be released, and allowed to remain in the US under his grant of deferred action until 2018. Let’s further hope President Trump and Congress will finally address the issue of young people by passing the DREAM Act.
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Michael J. Gurfinkel is licensed, and an active member of the State Bar of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different. The information contained herein including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) is of a general nature, and is not intended to apply to any particular case, and does not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.
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