A recently released report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows that nearly 60,000 people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with arrest records have been able to stay in the U.S. In fact, 54.8% of this number who requested DACA had more than one arrest and were approved.
DHS said that 59,786 DACA recipients have been arrested while residing in the U.S. A whopping 53,792 of those were arrested before their request for a grant of deferred action, and 7,814 of those were arrested after receiving their requests. Let’s break that down a little more, according to Fox News:
Out of the 53,792 DACA recipients with a prior arrest:
- More than 4,500 were arrested for alleged assault or battery
- 830 were related to sex crimes, which included rape or sexual abuse and indecent exposure
- 95 arrests were the result of warrants for human trafficking or false imprisonment and kidnapping
- 10 of those arrests were related to murder cases
- 38.8% were arrested for driving offenses not related to driving while under the influence
- 22.1% were arrested for immigration related crimes
- 12.3% were accused of theft and larceny
- More than 4,600 were arrested for drug related crimes
The rule on arrests and convictions as it pertains to granting DACA status is simple. No felonies and no more than three non-serious misdemeanor convictions. Francis Cissna, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director said:
“You could be arrested a whole lot of times and still get DACA. The data we’re putting out is only arrests, so presumably those people who had murder arrests, rape arrests — that type of seriousness — either got acquitted, charges were dropped or they plead something down, I would hope . . . there are a lot of crimes on the list we published that are misdemeanors – and they could’ve been convicted and still could’ve gotten DACA if they only had two of those misdemeanors.”
Cissna said the report was part of an ongoing effort to inform the public and politicians about the recipients of DACA. He said he wanted to make sure the department would have the ability to turn down applicants who were deemed a threat to society:
“I would like people to keep in mind… whatever they do, I would hope that we, at USCIS, would be able to turn down these people… if we think they’re a public safety threat… if someone is a gang member… even if they don’t have a conviction.”
That seems fair enough. As Cissna pointed out, if a person is a gang member but hasn’t been convicted of a crime yet, they are certainly considered a potential threat to the public. They should not be granted DACA status.
What the public, news media, and government will do with this information though is another matter.