Federal agents have arrested fourteen DREAMers who received temporary amnesty under President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who had previously been convicted of crimes.
According to an Associated Press report, “federal agents in a sweep targeting the most dangerous criminal immigrants arrested 15 people” who had received temporary amnesty.
A U.S. official who was briefed on the arrests told the Associated Press that 14 “of the 15 had been convicted of a crime.” And “in at least one case, the Obama administration renewed the protective status for a young immigrant after that person’s conviction in a drug case,” according to the AP source. The fifteenth DREAMer “hadn’t been convicted of a crime, but was arrested after being found armed with a gun.” The sweep reportedly “also captured five immigrants with protective applications pending and 19 others who had already been denied protection from deportation under the program.”
The Associated Press noted that “it was not immediately clear” when the DREAMers “were convicted or what their crimes were” and “answers to those questions could undermine the integrity of the government’s program, since eligibility is reserved for ambitious, young immigrants enrolled in school or who graduated and who would benefit American society.”
Nearly 700,000 illegal immigrant DREAMers have been granted temporary amnesty and work permits since the program went into effect in August 2012.
According to the federal government, DREAMers can qualify for DACA only if they “have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
When announcing his new executive amnesty for the illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens last year and expansion of the DACA program that lifted the upper age limit, Obama emphasized that temporary amnesty recipients must pass criminal background checks.
“So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation,” he said. “You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.”
At a recent Senate Judiciary Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee hearing, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) pointed out that it would be nearly impossible to vet executive amnesty applicants for past criminal activities or ties to gangs. He added that federal officials do not even have the resources or standard operating procedures to verify the identities of applicants who, for instance, do not have a middle initial on their application but submit suspicious documents with a middle initial
As Breitbart News reported, Sessions told top United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials that they have been “asked to do more than is physically possible” and Obama should have never asked them to vet executive amnesty applicants for criminal activity when they do not have the resources to do so.
“You just don’t have the ability to do this,” Sessions said, noting that legal immigrants are put through more rigorous backgrounds check than illegal immigrants applying for temporary amnesty.
When officials testified that USCIS has a “layered” process where applications are read by different people and amnesty applicants would not be given in-person interviews, Sessions called it a “dangerous” process for an agency that has already been accused of “rubber-stamping” applications.
“You don’t have any staff to do those interviews,” he said. “This is not going to work. You know it and I know it.”
After federal judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction against Obama’s executive amnesty, the administration halted the program until the case is resolved. The Obama administration on Thursday asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to block Hanen’s injunction in an emergency filing.