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emocrats and immigration activists have long claimed that amnesty for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children wouldn’t include young people with a criminal history, but many of the juvenile beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) were affiliated with gangs and had arrest records when granted the program’s benefits, according to a new report.
George Fishman of the Center for Immigration Studies this week released a report highlighting how many criminal immigrant youths qualify for DACA but face few consequences.
“Despite the successful framing of Dreamers and DACA recipients as young people with no criminal records, it turns out that many were affiliated with gangs and many had arrest records when granted DACA benefits, and many others saw their DACA status terminated because of criminal activity,” the report states.
The publication comes as Democrats in Congress are preparing a legislative push before they lose control of the House early next year to provide a pathway to citizenship for recipients of DACA. The Obama administration established the program in 2012 to grant protection from deportation for so-called “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Proponents of DACA and the Dream Act, a longtime legislative proposal to grant amnesty to Dreamers, have consistently said the program won’t help people with criminal records.
Only “young people who are poised to contribute to our country and have met strict requirements regarding moral character and criminal history would be eligible,” said then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in 2011, for example.
“These individuals do not pose a risk to public safety,” Napolitano emphasized. “They do not pose a risk to national security.”
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