Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who successfully enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program carried prior arrest records, according to data released by the Trump administration.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—the agency under the Department of Homeland Security that is tasked with managing the country’s legal immigration system—released a report Saturday detailing the arrest histories of those who requested and received approval for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
In total, there were nearly 889,000 applicants for the DACA program under the Obama administration. Roughly 110,000 of those had an arrest record—making up 12% of total applicants. Offenses for some of these arrests included murder, rape, battery, assault, and driving while intoxicated, according to Citizenship and Immigration Services.
More notably, of the 765,166 individuals who were granted DACA status, 79,398 had a prior arrest. This translates to 1 in 10 DACA recipients having an arrest record. Nearly 25,000 approved applicants were arrested more than once.
“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, [Citizenship and Immigration Services] remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” Ken Cuccinelli, the agency’s acting director, said in a statement Saturday.
“This agency is obligated to continue accepting DACA requests from illegal aliens as a direct result of the previous administration’s decision to circumvent the laws as passed by Congress. We hope this data provides a better sense of the reality of those granted the privilege of a temporary deferral of removal action and work authorization under DACA,” Cuccinelli said.
However, the agency noted in the press release that the data could include arrests that did not end in convictions or cases where charges were dropped or dismissed.
The fight over continuing or ending DACA now rests in the hands of the country’s most powerful court.
Supreme Court justices heard arguments Nov. 12 over whether the Trump administration can terminate the program, which began through a 2012 executive order by then-President Barack Obama.
President Donald Trump has argued that Obama never had the legal authority to unilaterally create DACA, but so far the lower courts have blocked the White House from nixing the program.
The president wants to end Obama’s executive order; however, he has publicly voiced his support for implementing the program through Congress. Trump tweeted Nov. 12 about those enrolled in DACA, and said some are “hardened criminals.”
“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!” Trump wrote.
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