Border Patrol Agents Arrest DACA Recipient for Human Smuggling

November 21, 2019 Updated: November 21, 2019

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient on Nov. 19 for smuggling in an illegal immigrant near Lukeville, Arizona.

A 29-year-old woman was caught by Tuscan Sector agents attempting to smuggle a Mexican national, 21, while passing through the inspection lanes at the State Route 85 immigration checkpoint, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed in a news release.

The agents determined the passenger was being smuggled by the Colorado resident across the border after the pair were referred to the secondary inspection lane at about 11 p.m., according to the release.

The Kia sedan was seized by Border Patrol agents and the woman is being held in custody under human smuggling charges. The Mexican national, who is in the United States illegally, will be processed for violations of immigration laws.

What is the DACA program?

The DACA program was created through executive action by former President Barack Obama in June 2012 and temporarily shielded young people who came to the United States illegally from being deported.

On Nov. 12, the Trump administration told the Supreme Court it should be struck down as unconstitutional because it was never authorized by Congress.

There are about 700,000 or more individuals eligible under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). They are a subset of about 4 million “Dreamers,” many of whom failed to apply for relief under DACA, but could conceivably qualify under the kind of amnesty that Democrats and some Republicans are pushing for in Congress.

Various federal courts blocked the Trump administration from terminating DACA and ordered U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to keep taking applications from DACA recipients.

“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter early on Nov. 12. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”

But even if DACA is struck down, it seems unlikely that its recipients will have to leave the country.

When Trump announced he would end DACA in 2017, he expressed sympathy for DACA recipients and said his cancellation of the program would force Democratic lawmakers to make a deal to allow the young people to stay.

He repeated the prediction in a recent message on Twitter.

“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.

As he created the program, Obama said DACA was “not amnesty, this is not immunity.”

“This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people,” Obama said.

After the Trump administration announced it planned to end the program, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions denounced DACA in September 2017.

DACA “contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the Southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences” and “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens,” he said at the time.

Matthew Vadum contributed to this report.