Living The Dream: DACA Recipients Busted For Human Smuggling

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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Two recipients of an executive amnesty for younger illegal immigrants were arrested on suspicion of human smuggling violations in two separate incidents last week, federal officials said Monday.

One of the men has active status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the other is a former DACA beneficiary whose protections have expired.

DACA gives certain younger illegal immigrants a reprieve from deportation and two-year renewable work authorization. President Donald trump ended the program last year and gave lawmakers until March 5 to pass legislation that would codify the protections.

In the first smuggling incident, Border Patrol agents pulled over a suspicious vehicle on Interstate 5 near Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego. Three men were inside: the driver — a 20-year-old DACA recipient whose status had expired — and two Mexican nationals suspected of being in the country illegally, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The former DACA recipient told border agents he had been involved in human smuggling on the area, officials said. He is currently in federal custody.

The second incident took place Thursday morning when Border Patrol agents working about 50 miles east of San Diego spotted two suspicious vehicles. After agents conducted an immigration inspection of one of the cars, the driver — a 22-year-old DACA recipient from Mexico — told them he was scouting the area to aid a group of smugglers, federal officials said.

The suspect, who was not identified, is in Department of Homeland Security custody pending deportation, according to KUSI News in San Diego.


DACA recipients — sometimes called ‘Dreamers’ — have been arrested in connection with human smuggling on previous occasions. In October, two DACA beneficiaries were arrested in separate incidents in Texas for transporting illegal immigrants from Brazil and Mexico in the trunks of their cars.

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