A border-area congressman on Wednesday asked the Trump administration to clarify whether beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should expect to be detained by Border Patrol officials even if they have current permits.
The letter by U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, was in response to reports that nine recipients of the Obama-era immigration program were detained in Brooks County while traveling to Corpus Christi from the Rio Grande Valley on Monday. The individuals, who have since been released, were detained despite having unexpired DACA permits, Gonzalez said.
News of the detentions was first reported by The Monitor in McAllen.
“I believe that these actions by [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] well indicate the end of the era of reason, and the beginning of a new kind of humanitarian crisis,” Gonzalez wrote to Trump, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine C. Duke, and acting Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin K. McAleenan. “How far are we from rounding up these children and young people for deportation, and removal from our country, so that they fit on the “right side” of the wall you are building?”
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The DACA program provides a two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings for young undocumented immigrants, many of whom were brought into the U.S. by their parents. The Trump administration announced last week that it was phasing out the program over six months but that current permits would remain valid until they expire.
Monday’s news came after Trump sought to reassure DACA recipients that they wouldn’t immediately be targeted by immigration agents.
“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
Gonzalez asked in his letter if perhaps “federal agencies and personnel should take a “Presidential Tweet” more seriously.”
Asked if Monday’s event signaled a change to current policy regarding DACA recipients at checkpoints, a CBP representative would only say that the agency followed current policies.
“USBP agents encountered nine individuals at the immigration checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas. The individuals claimed to be enrolled in DACA,” the CBP representative said in an email. “Agents validated their claims by reviewing and verifying their documents. The individuals were then released to proceed with their journey, consistent with established policies and procedures.”
Read related Tribune coverage:
The Trump Administration says it will end an Obama-era program that has granted relief to hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants — including more than 120,000 in Texas. [Full story]
Texans who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program learned that the popular program will be phased out. And they have a second worry: the fate of the state's new immigration enforcement law. [Full story]
After a federal judge declined to block provisions of a Texas law that allow local law enforcement to ask about a person's immigration status during a detention, lead plaintiffs say that will not result in a major change. [Full story]