On the eve of President Trump deciding the status of the Obama era program deferring deportation for nearly 800,000 mostly Latin American young adults, federal immigration authorities are revealing a surge in those losing their freedom "due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns."
Officials told Secrets that the number has surged 30 percent this year.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that 622 had their deferred action status pulled this year due to criminal activity.
The numbers on revocations and terminations:
- 2013 -- 56.
- 2014 -- 153.
- 2015 -- 460.
- 2016 -- 848.
- 2017 -- 622.
- Total -- 2,139.
According to USCIS, "The deferred action terminations were due to one or more of the following: a felony criminal conviction; a significant misdemeanor conviction; multiple misdemeanor convictions; gang affiliation; or arrest of any crime in which there is deemed to be a public safety concern. Most DACA terminations were based on the following infractions (not ranked): alien smuggling, assaultive offenses, domestic violence, drug offenses, DUI, larceny and thefts, criminal trespass and burglary, sexual offenses with minors, other sex offenses and weapons offenses."
In a recent case, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arrested three DACA immigrants in a nationwide sweep of gangs.
The numbers are small by comparison to the larger DACA population but experts said it shows that not a lot is known about the activities of the youths, mostly young adults.
"It confirms that the DACA screening process was woefully inadequate. The eligibility bar was set very low, explicitly allowing people with multiple misdemeanor and certain felony convictions to be approved. Only a handful of the applicants were ever interviewed, and only rarely was the information on the application ever verified," said Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies.
She told Secrets, "this statistic undercuts the image of DACA that has been spread by the pro-illegal alien groups and the news media, that the DACA recipients are mostly college kids. This is not true. We don't know much about the population, but one of the few credible studies that has been done, by a scholar at Harvard University, found that at most are more than 22 years old, and only about 20 percent graduated from or attended a four-year college. A significant share never went beyond high school. This is not really all that surprising, since over 72 percent come from a family at or below poverty level and accessing some public assistance."
While the figures also show that many DACA recipients may be law followers and high achievers, but she said it shows that not all should be granted a form of citizenship if Trump extends the program.
"This suggests two important things that should happen if there is to be a legalization: not everyone with DACA should be guaranteed as eligible for legalization, and the existing legal immigration categories, especially the parents category and the extended family categories, should be trimmed back in order to minimize the fiscal and economic costs that the legalization will bring," said Vaughan.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org