Nearly 110,000 “Dreamers” approved under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have an arrest record, according to a new report released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The report, released on Saturday, found that of the nearly 889,000 illegal child immigrants who had applied for the DACA program, 12 percent had arrest records.
Of that figure, 85 percent (67,861) were arrested before their most recent DACA approval and 15,903 were arrested after their most recent approval.
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More than 35 percent (24,898) have been arrested more than once, while 218 had been arrested on more than 10 separate occasions. Of these individuals, the report said that 54 have a DACA case status of “approved” as of October this year.
Offenses committed by these individuals according to their U.S. arrest records including assault, battery, rape, murder, and driving under the influence.
The largest number of DACA applicants were arrested on suspected driving-related offenses excluding DUIs (23,305) and immigration-related offenses (12,968).
Other offenses incurred by those who had been arrested before their most recently approval to the program include battery (3,421), assault (3,308), burglary, breaking and entering (1,471), and theft or larceny (7,926).
Relating to the most serious offenses, 62 arrests were for rape while 15 were for murder.
The DACA program was created through executive action by former President Barack Obama in June 2012 after failing to pass Congress. Obama had acknowledged just a year earlier that such a program would be unconstitutional, saying he was unable to “just bypass Congress and change the law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”
It began accepting applications in August 2012.
Since its launch, over 800,000 migrants have applied to join the initiative, which allows people who were illegally brought to the United States at a young age for various reasons to remain in the country for renewable two-year periods.
To be eligible for the program, recipients should not have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records and must have arrived in the country before 2007 when they were under the age of 16.
President Trump announced his administration would be phasing out the program in 2017. However, the federal courts ruled against the decision and maintained the program should be restarted in full.
The U.S. supreme court is now considering whether Trump can move forward with his plan to phase out the program after the White House challenged the federal court’s decision.
On Tuesday, Trump claimed that some of the recipients of the program are “not angels” but promised to make a deal to allow recipients of the program to stay in the United States.
“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!” he wrote on Twitter.
He added that his administration wasn’t “going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”
Meanwhile, USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said his agency remains committed to ensuring that Americans are informed about those who are being accepted for the DACA program.
“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remain committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” Cuccinelli said.
He added: “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.”
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