Two young illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in the U.S. under protection of the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty were caught smuggling illegal immigrants in separate incidents in Texas, authorities announced Thursday.
The arrests come at a time when Congress is debating what to do about Dreamers, and the arrests could complicate the picture painted of Dreamers as law-abiding standouts who are victims of circumstance.
Customs and Border Protection said the first smuggling attempt was broken up on Oct. 4, after Border Patrol agents stopped a car at a checkpoint on Interstate 35 and discovered two illegal immigrants from Brazil hiding in the trunk.
The driver of the car was from Guatemala, a juvenile who had been approved by the Obama administration for a DACA permit in 2016.
Three days later the same checkpoint snared another DACA recipient from Mexico smuggling an illegal immigrant from Mexico in his trunk.
Neither of the Dreamers’ names were released.
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They and the illegal immigrants they were trying to smuggle are all being processed for deportation, CBP said.
To qualify for the DACA program illegal immigrants must assert they were brought to the U.S. as children and have kept a relatively clean record.
Immigrant-smuggling violates the terms of the agreement, as does gang membership or other serious crimes of violence.
As of this summer, some 2,139 Dreamers had had their DACA status revoked, out of nearly 800,000 people who’d been approved for the program — an incredibly low rate of about a quarter of 1 percent.
President Trump last month said he was phasing out the DACA program, saying otherwise it was likely to have been struck down by the courts, which the administration said could have sparked chaos.
Instead, Mr. Trump announced a six-month phaseout, with those currently protected allowed to serve out the rest of their permits, which are good for up to two years.
The president said he wanted Congress to use the six months to pass a more permanent solution.
Democrats and some Republicans have called for a quick legalization and a full pathway to citizenship, while the Trump administration says it doesn’t support full citizenship, and wants to see any bill coupled with stiff enforcement measures.