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Federal Immigration Officials Set Sights on Oregon DREAMer for DUI

car-2150838_640-300x200Immigration authorities have set their sights on an Oregon “DREAMer” last week after learning of a DUI charge against him from last December. According to a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties of Oregon, 25-year-old Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez was eventually released from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma on Monday, on an unspecified bond.

DACA Background

Rodriguez Dominguez joins the list of immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who have been detained after President Trump took office in January.

The program is the product of a 2012 executive action by President Obama; it allows undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children to apply for temporary work permits and relief from deportation. DACA builds upon the provisions of the proposed DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act of 2001, which failed to pass into law despite a big push in 2010.

Rodriguez Dominguez first entered the U.S. from Mexico when he was 5-years old. In 2013, he was officially enrolled in DACA. His DACA status, which needs to be renewed every 2 years, is valid until August, according to dos Santos.  

According to Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, the DUI charge was a misdemeanor; Rodriguez Dominguez had even entered a diversion program he was in the process of finishing before he was arrested by immigration officials.

“If they allowed him to complete the program, he wouldn’t have a criminal record at all,” he said.

Threat to Public Safety?

Over the weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrived at Rodriguez Dominguez’s home in Portland. Despite notifying the agents of his DACA status, he was still arrested and told, “It doesn’t matter.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, DACA recipients can still lose their temporary status should they be identified as a threat to national security or public safety. ICE spokesperson Rose Richeson told reporters Rodriguez Dominguez was classified under the latter.

Dos Santos, however, argued that Rodriguez Dominguez was an active volunteer in his church, working in a community advocacy group to provide food to poor families.

“This is a person who is an upstanding member of our community. He was well on his way to making up for his mistake,” said dos Santos, describing the DUI as a mistake his client is unjustly being punished for.

Rodriguez Dominguez’s arrest adds to the growing confusion over the status of DREAMers in a Trump presidency. Throughout the campaign trail, Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to deport “illegals” en masse, promising anti-immigration measures such as a border wall and an immigrant ban against predominantly Muslim countries (currently being challenged by a District Court in Hawaii).

If you, or a loved one, are a DACA recipient concerned about your immigration status, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to learn more from immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.