In First Five Years, 79,000 of DACA Recipients Admitted to U.S. Had Arrest Records

DACA Rally
by Bethany Blankley


Within five years of a new program created to prevent deportation of minors brought into the country illegally by their parents, nearly 80,000 were released into the U.S. with arrest records. The majority were between the ages of 19 and 22 when they were arrested, according to the latest available data published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced he was expanding deportation protections and job opportunities for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by executive order by former president Barack Obama in 2012.

According to USCIS, DACA applies to those who were brought into the country before reaching age 16 and were under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, among other criteria.

Tuesday was the 12-year anniversary of DACA, which a federal judge has twice ruled is illegal. Several states, led by Texas, are still fighting to end DACA in a case that is expected to eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, The Center Square reported.

While the majority of DACA supporters argue recipients should be granted citizenship, claiming they contribute to the U.S. economy and are constructive members of society, others argue those with criminal records, at a minimum, should be deported.

According to a USCIS report, in the first five years of DACA being implemented, from June 2012 to October 2019, nearly 80,000 illegal foreign nationals with prior arrest records, including for violent crimes, were granted DACA status.

According to the data, of the 888,818 DACA requestors, 765,166 were approved, including 79,398 who were approved with an arrest, or 10.38% of applicants, according to the report.

The number who were denied or their DACA status was terminated totaled 77,833, including 30,132 with an arrest, accounting for 38.71%, according to the report.

The number of DACA approved or denied requestors with a prior arrest totaled 67,861. Those approved with a later arrest totaled 15,903.

By contrast, DACA applicants with an arrest (30,132), a prior arrest (28,093), and later arrest (5,017) were denied the status.

The report also notes that some DACA recipients “may have obtained lawful immigration status, failed to request renewal, have had their renewal request denied, or may have had their DACA terminated.”

It also identifies how many DACA recipients were released into the country with a prior arrest, including more than 25,300 arrested for driving-related crimes excluding driving under the influence (DUI). Nearly 13,000 were arrested for immigration-related civil and criminal offenses; nearly 8,000 for theft, larceny; nearly 7,000 for drug-related crimes; more than 4,200 for DUI; more than 3,400 for battery; more than 3,300 for assault; more than 3,000 for obstruction, fabrication, false claim.

The report also notes that 41 illegal foreign nationals were granted DACA status who’d been arrested more than 10 times; 963 were granted DACA status who’d been arrested five times; 15,482 who’d been arrested twice.

Of the more than 202,000 arrests reported, the majority of DACA requesters were between the ages of 19 and 22 when they were arrested. The next largest age group with the most arrests were between ages 23 and 26, followed by those between 15 and 18, according to the data.

The greatest number of DACA requesters arrested were citizens of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil and Peru.

The greatest number of arrests and the greatest number of DACA requesters arrested by their last known state of residency were in the same three states: California, Texas and Illinois.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, if DACA recipients “knowingly misrepresent information, or knowingly fail to disclose facts, in an effort to obtain DACA or work authorization through this process,” they “will be subject to criminal prosecution or removal from the United States or both.”

According to CIS, DACA is not granted to those who’ve been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors, or who pose a threat to national security or public safety.

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Bethany Blankley is a contributor for The Center Square.
Photo “DACA Rally” by Victoria Pickering CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.



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