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Nearly 80,000 Illegal Aliens Carried An Arrest Record Before Winning DACA Approval, Government Data Show

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Tens of thousands of people who successfully enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program carried prior arrest records, according to data the Trump administration released Saturday.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency under the Department of Homeland Security that is tasked with managing the country’s legal immigration system — released a report Saturday detailing the arrest history of those who requested, and received, approval for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In total, there were nearly 889,000 applicants for the DACA program. Roughly 110,000 of those who applied had an arrest record — making up 12% of total applicants. Offenses for some of these arrests included murder, rape, battery, assault and driving while intoxicated, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

More notably, of the 765,166 individuals who were granted DACA status, 79,398 had a prior arrest. This translates to 1 in 10 DACA recipients carrying an arrest record. Nearly 25,000 requesters who were approved were arrested more than once.

Activists and DACA recipients march up Broadway during the start of their 'Walk to Stay Home,' a five-day 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C., to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Activists and DACA recipients march up Broadway during the start of their “Walk to Stay Home,” a five-day 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C., to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., Feb. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” outgoing USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement Saturday.

“This agency is obligated to continue accepting DACA requests from illegal aliens as a direct result of the previous administration’s decision to circumvent the laws as passed by Congress. We hope this data provides a better sense of the reality of those granted the privilege of a temporary deferral of removal action and work authorization under DACA,” Cuccinelli continued.

However, the agency noted in a press release that the data could include arrests that did not end in convictions or may include cases where charges were dropped or dismissed.

The data was published as the fight over DACA now rests in the hands of the country’s most powerful court.

Supreme Court justices heard arguments on Nov. 12 over whether the Trump administration can legally terminate the program, which began through a 2012 executive order by former President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has long argued that Obama never had the legal authority to unilaterally create DACA, but so far the lower courts have blocked the White House from nixing the program.

The president wants to end Obama’s executive order; however, he has publicly voiced his support for implementing the program through Congress. Trump tweeted on Nov. 12 about those enrolled in DACA and said some are “hardened criminals.” (RELATED: Mexico Is Urging The Supreme Court To Stop Trump’s Bid To End DACA)

“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!” he wrote.

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