Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Data Shows Criminal Arrest Histories of DACA Requestors

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released new data (PDF, 140 KB) regarding arrests and apprehensions among the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requestor population. The data contains both criminal and civil information of those approved and denied under DACA. 

The findings are part of a continuous release of information by the agency to its website on both the DACA policy and its requestor population; including most recently, data regarding ages and education levels of DACA recipients. The new data relates to arrests and apprehensions, which do not necessarily result in actual convictions.

Among the findings of the release: 

  • Almost 8-percent of total DACA requestors (59,786 individuals) had arrest records as of the date the systems were queried, which included offenses such as assault and battery, rape, murder, and drunk driving, among others.  “Requestors” includes individuals approved and denied DACA.
  • Of those individuals whose DACA requests were approved and had one or more arrests or apprehensions, 53,792 were arrested or apprehended prior to their most recent approval.  
  • Approximately 13-percent (7,814) of approved DACA requestors with an arrest had an arrest after their grant was approved and prior to renewal.
  • 54.8-percent of DACA requestors with more than one arrest (17,079) most recently had a DACA case status of “approved” as of the date the systems were queried.
  • 199 individuals who requested DACA had 10 or more arrests. Of those, 51 most recently had DACA case status of “approved,” as of the date the systems were queried.
  • Of the total 888,765 DACA requestors, 797,297 had no arrests or apprehensions, and 710, 842 were approved.

“In striving for transparency, USCIS has released a variety of information on both the DACA policy and its population as part of a continued effort to keep the public informed. As such, criminal activity of DACA requestors has long been the subject of widespread discussion and speculation, with a regrettable lack of available data until now. The truth is that we let those with criminal arrests for sexually assaulting a minor, kidnapping, human trafficking, child pornography, or even murder be provided protection from removal. Yet the courts rule that we are unable to change this policy - even though those with criminal histories are getting through the system and permitted to remain in the country, despite having a high number of arrests for any types of crimes before or after receiving DACA protection,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. 

“There are legitimate concerns over a portion of the population who have requested, and been granted, the privilege of a temporary stay of their removal under the illegal DACA policy. Until it can be repealed, this criminality data only reinforces the need for its continued review and scrutiny, which was imposed unilaterally by the Obama administration in circumventing Congress. It's our hope that it helps the public and policy makers better understand the reality of the entire DACA population,” Cissna added.

Under current DACA policy, an individual may be considered for DACA if he or she has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more “non-significant” misdemeanors not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct, or does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. Numbers of arrests alone do not necessarily disqualify a person from receiving DACA as a matter of discretion.  


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