DACA Recipients Caught Human Smuggling

October 15, 2017 Updated: October 15, 2017

In separate incidents earlier this month, two recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were arrested for attempting to smuggle illegal aliens inside the United States, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Border Patrol agents arrested a juvenile on Oct. 4 after discovering two men in the trunk of his car at a checkpoint on Interstate Highway 35, north of Laredo, Texas.

“The driver was questioned regarding his immigration status and was referred for further inspection after a Border Patrol canine alerted to the presence of concealed humans and/or narcotics,” CBP said in a statement on Oct. 12.

The two men were from Brazil. The driver, a DACA recipient, was a Guatemalan national.

All three were processed for removal proceedings.

At the same Border Patrol checkpoint, on Oct. 7, agents found a Mexican man in the trunk of a car driven by a DACA recipient from Mexico. Both were processed for removal proceedings.

DACA was introduced by former President Barack Obama in 2012 to give temporary immunity from deportation to individuals who had been brought into the country illegally before their 16th birthday. DACA also gave recipients two-year, renewable work permits.

President Donald Trump announced a phase-out of DACA on Sept. 5 and has given Congress six months to find a permanent solution.

Interior Checkpoints

In the past, permanent traffic checkpoints—such as the one on I-35 that caught the human smugglers—were used as secondary operations, but they have now expanded into one of the most important and effective enforcement operations, according to the CBP website.

“The majority of smuggling cases both alien and narcotics, false documents, and false claims to citizenship are encountered by agents conducting this activity,” the website states.

“Traffic checkpoints are our major defense against those aliens who enter as nonimmigrants with the intention of seeking employment in the interior areas. The majority of narcotic smugglers are apprehended at the checkpoints or when attempting to circumvent them.”

So far this month, CBP South Texas has tweeted about two major drug seizures. One on Oct. 4, in which CBP officers seized $916,000 in heroin and methamphetamine at the Laredo Port of Entry.

And on Oct. 11, CBP officers interdicted $1.5 million in methamphetamine at the Laredo Port of Entry in two seizures.


CBP said its freight train checks have been one of the most productive operations for alien apprehensions in the sector.

“It is also the most dangerous activity, which often results in numerous deaths to aliens, and serious injuries to both aliens and agents,” CBP said on its website. “Commercial transportation checks have resulted in many drug seizures, as well as alien and smuggler apprehensions.”

The Laredo Border Patrol Sector shares 171 border miles with Mexico and has the second highest number of apprehensions of illicit border crossers in the nation (after neighboring Rio Grande Valley).

In fiscal year 2016, Laredo apprehended 36,562 illegal aliens, while across the 320-mile Rio Grande sector, agents apprehended 186,830.

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