Tens of thousands of people who successfully enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program carried prior arrest records, according newly released data by the Trump administration.
United States 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 on Saturday detailing the arrest history of those who requested, and received, approval for the Deferred Actin for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In total, there were nearly 889,000 applicants for the DACA program. Roughly 110,000 of those who applied 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 United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS).
More notably, of the 765,166 individuals who were granted DACA status, 79,398 had a prior arrest. This translates to one-in-ten DACA recipients carrying an arrest record. Nearly 25,000 requestors who were approved were arrested more than once.
“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” said outgoing USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli in a statement provided by the agency on 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 continued.
However, the agency noted in its press release that the data could include arrests that did not end in convictions, or may include cases where charges were dropped or dismissed.
The data was published as the fight over DACA now rests in the hands of the country’s most powerful court.
Justices on the Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday over whether the Trump administration can legally terminate the program, which began through a 2012 executive order by then-president Barack Obama. Trump has long 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.
While the president wants to end Obama’s executive order, he has publicly voiced his support for implementing the program through Congress. Trump recently tweeted about those enrolled in DACA, claiming that 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!” he wrote on Tuesday.
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