DREAM­ers lose pro­tec­tions

De­por­ta­tions up un­der Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Alan Gomez @ alan­gomez

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has stepped up the de­por­ta­tion of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants who came to the USA as chil­dren and lost their pro­tected sta­tus, which had al­lowed them to stay, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral data pro­vided to USA TO­DAY.

Both the Obama and Trump ad­min­is­tra­tions re­voked the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals ( DACA) sta­tus of en­rollees who com­mit­ted se­ri­ous crimes, be­came af­fil­i­ated with gangs or oth­er­wise be­came threats to pub- lic safety. Un­der Obama, that led to 365 for­mer DACA en­rollees be­ing de­ported, an av­er­age of seven a month since the first DACA ap­pli­ca­tions were ap­proved in Septem­ber 2012.

In the first month of Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­dency, 43 for­mer DACA en­rollees were de­ported, ac­cord­ing to Depart­ment of Homeland Se­cu­rity sta­tis­tics re­quested by USA TO­DAY.

“This is more ev­i­dence that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is mak­ing nearly ev­ery per­son who’s un­doc­u­mented a pri­or­ity for re­moval,” said Ali Noorani, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Na­tional Im­mi­gra­tion Fo­rum, a group that ad­vo­cates for im­mi­grants in the USA. “That’s a re­ally poor use of law en­force-

“This is more ev­i­dence that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is mak­ing nearly ev­ery per­son who’s un­doc­u­mented a pri­or­ity for re­moval.” Ali Noorani, Na­tional Im­mi­gra­tion Fo­rum

ment re­sources.”

Pres­i­dent Obama cre­ated DACA to pro­tect un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants brought to the coun­try be­fore they turned 16.

Un­der the pro­gram, those with no sig­nif­i­cant crim­i­nal records who were go­ing to school or grad­u­ated could sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion to the fed­eral govern­ment. If ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Homeland Se­cu­rity, the im­mi­grants were pro­tected from de­por­ta­tion for two years and could re­ceive a work per­mit. They could reap­ply to ex­tend their DACA sta­tus for an ad­di­tional two years. More than 750,000 peo­ple were ap­proved for the pro­gram, and the vast ma­jor­ity were granted a re­newal.

DACA was not an ab­so­lute guar­an­tee. If an en­rollee was con­victed of a felony, a “sig­nif­i­cant mis­de­meanor” or three other mis­de­meanors, his or her pro-

tected sta­tus could be re­voked. That hap­pened to 1,488 peo­ple un­der Obama and Trump com­bined. Un­der Obama, 507 were al­lowed to stay in the coun­try vs. the 365 de­ported. Some were re­leased on bond, some were kept un­der su­per­vi­sion and oth­ers were freed. Un­der Trump, 20 were al­lowed to re­main in the USA com­pared with the 43 who were de­ported.

Jes­sica Vaughan, direc­tor of pol­icy stud­ies at the Cen­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion Stud­ies, a group that ad­vo­cates for lower lev­els of im­mi­gra­tion, said fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers feel more com­fort­able pur­su­ing de­por­ta­tions un­der Trump than Obama. “They knew who those peo­ple were and felt em­pow­ered to act on them right away,” Vaughan said.

The Depart­ment of Homeland Se­cu­rity said part of the rea­son for the spike in de­por­ta­tions is that “a num­ber” of those de­ported were in re­moval pro­ceed­ings when Trump as­sumed of­fice Jan. 20. Depart­ment spokes­woman Gil­lian Chris­tensen said the re­main­der were sim­ply part of the reg­u­lar process of de­port­ing peo­ple whose DACA was re­voked.

“The grounds for DACA termination have not changed,” Chris­tensen said.

But the grounds for peo­ple be­ing de­ported have changed. Trump is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der Jan. 25 that ex­panded the rea­sons why un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are pri­or­i­ties for de­por­ta­tion. Those charged with crimes can be de­ported, a big change from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which re­quired that peo­ple be con­victed of crimes.

FRED­ERIC J. BROWN, AFP/ GETTY IM­AGES

Po­lice ar­rest demon­stra­tors protest­ing im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment in Los An­ge­les.

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