Throughout the campaign period, President Donald Trump has pledged an unprecedented crackdown on immigration, and his subsequent administration has indeed tried to live up to campaign promises.
Since Trump took office, border agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have since doubled in number, and immigration rights activists have reported an increasing number of raids, some of them even happening in courthouses, where detained immigrants were waiting to be released from detention.
Despite these developments, President Trump appears to take a gentler stance on the fate of so-called DREAMers covered by the DACA programs.
In an interview with the Associated Press, President Trump said that “DREAMers,” or immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, should rest easy without fear of deportation. Trump told the AP he is, “not after the ‘dreamers,’ we are after the criminals.”
“Here is what they can hear: The ‘dreamers’ should rest easy,” the President said. “OK? I’ll give you that. The ‘dreamers’ should rest easy.”
Reality of DACA
But the reality DACA beneficiaries face may not line up with Trump’s promises, as the case of Juan Manual Montest Bojorquez shows.
Montes Bojorquez is a 23-year old immigrant arrested and deported to Mexico on February 18 despite being under the protection of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program. Lawyers for Montes Bojorquez allege that his arrest and subsequent deportation are clear violations of the DACA.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, disputes Montes Bojorquez’s claim, pointing out that he had voluntarily crossed into Mexico. He was arrested shortly after re-entering the U.S. without documentation on February 18 of this year.
The DHS also referred to Montes Bojorquez’s 2016 conviction for shoplifting, which his lawyers reject as being significant to his deportation, asserting that only a background check could disqualify their client from DACA protection.
The DHS nonetheless maintains their allegations against Montes Bojorquez and his ‘suspicious’ entry into the country, pointing out that while his attorneys claim that he arrived in the country at the age of nine, the agency reports having no records of the immigrant dating before 2010.
The DACA, implemented in June of 2012 by the Obama administration, was designed to divert immigrant enforcement and funds away from “low priority” targets, specifically those who first entered the country as minors and have exhibited relatively good behavior. The program allows certain beneficiaries to file for renewable two-year periods of deferred action from deportation. The temporary permit also allows them to apply for driver’s licenses and find legal work.
Under these provisions, Montes Bojorquez’s stay in the U.S. should be legal until 2018.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has since had to define the Trump administration’s position on deportation in light of the Montes Bojorquez case. He echoed the President’s announcement, saying that the administration is primarily concerned in dealing with criminals who have committed crimes or are otherwise “a threat to public safety.”
Montes Bojorquez’s lawyers have sued the federal government, demanding that they turn over information regarding their client’s deportation.
Trump’s remarks have had little effect on the concerns of DACA beneficiaries, as pointed out by the same AP report. If you, or a loved one, are under DACA and want to know your rights, don’t hesitate to talk to the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Contact our offices to schedule a consultation with Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.