Trump Administration signals that a DUI will cause DACA protective status to be removed

From NBC News (story by Tim Stelloh):

Federal authorities targeted a so-called “DREAMer” in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend because of a driving under the influence charge from December, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told NBC News on Monday.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, was released on unspecified bond from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties of Oregon said.

Federal authorities targeted a so-called “DREAMer” in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend because of a driving under the influence charge from December, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told NBC News on Monday.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, was released on unspecified bond from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties of Oregon said.

Francisco Rodriguez DominguezACLU of Oregon

Rodriguez Dominguez is one of a handful of detainees who enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, and have been detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The program, authorized in 2012, allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to gain temporary protection from deportation. DACA built upon proposals in the failed DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act of 2001.

Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, told NBC News that the DUI charge was a misdemeanor, and that Rodriguez Dominguez entered a diversion program and was in the process of completing the program’s requirements when he was detained.

“If they allowed him to complete the program, he wouldn’t have a criminal record at all,” dos Santos said.

Rodriguez Dominguez was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 5 and has been enrolled in DACA since 2013, the group said in a statement.

That status, which program recipients must renew every two years, is likely current until August, dos Santos told NBC News.

On Sunday morning, dos Santos said, several immigration agents arrived at his family’s home in Portland.

“He went downstairs to tell them he was a DACA recipient,” Dos Santos said. “They said, ‘It doesn’t matter.'”

The Department of Homeland Security has previously said that DACA recipients can lose their protection if they’re found to pose a national security or public safety threat.

The ICE spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, told NBC News that the agency considered driving under the influence to be among the latter.

Dos Santos pointed out that Rodriguez Dominguez was a church volunteer who, through a community advocacy group, helps distribute food to poor families at a local middle school. He described the DUI as a mistake that Rodriguez is being unjustly punished for.

“This is a person who is an upstanding member of our community,” he said. “He was well on his way to making up for his mistake.”

Read the whole story here:  http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/immigration-authorities-target-oregon-dreamer-over-dui-n739271

Immigration bill targets repeat DUI offenders who are undocumented

From ABC News:

When an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala hit and killed an 8-year-old girl and her mother in 2009, some people in the town of Brewster, New York, made the debate about the man’s immigration status.

The assailant, Conses Garcia-Zacarias, was driving his Ford F-350 without a license and his blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

“This illegal alien criminal, by actions of his own choosing, took the lives of two of our neighbors and friends,” Ed Kowalski, an area resident and a member of a local conservative organization, said about the incident in 2010. “The DWI aspects of these deaths are only half of the

story; sadly, the problem of criminal activity among the illegal alien population in our area can only be addressed when our elected officials recognize the scope of the problem and address it in a uniform, consistent way.”

This sort of attitude — linking immigration status and drunk driving — doesn’t just happen on the local level.

An immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate last week includes a provision aimed at “habitual drunk drivers.” Any individual with three or more drunk driving offenses in the U.S. would be deportable and barred from reentering the country, if the bill eventually becomes law.

However, immigrants aren’t more likely to drive under the influence than native-born Americans, according to a 2008 study by the National

Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study looked at Hispanics born in the U.S. and abroad. The findings: that birthplace wasn’t a factor when it came to drunk driving, either over the short term or the long term.

Unlicensed driving, however, is significantly more dangerous than driving without a license. And most states don’t allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a license. So in that sense, there is a link to immigration policy.

People who were driving with an invalid license, had no known license, or whose license status could not be determined accounted for 20 percent of fatal crashes from 2001 to 2005, according to “Unlicensed to Kill,” a 2008 report by AAA.

Add alcohol or drug use to the equation, and you could have a very dangerous driver on the road. The case in New York shows that.

US to issue renewable work visas to some undocumented aliens

Major news today on the immigration front.  The United States Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will allow certain undocumented aliens to apply for renewable 2 year work visas.  These visas will allow a person, who was brought into this county illegally when they were younger than the age of 16 and have been living here for at least 5 years, have not committed any felonies or “significant” misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors and is a student or a veteran or has a high school degree or GED.

These visas will allow the individual to obtain a social security number and therefore, a driver’s license.

Here is Secretary Napolitano’s press release:

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:

  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this fact sheet.

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