15 people permitted to stay in the United States under the executive action taken by President Obama to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation have been arrested in a federal operation aimed at capturing dangerous criminals, according to the Associated Press.
14 of the 15 immigrants have criminal convictions, says the Department of Homeland Security, and in one instance a young immigrant who had been convicted of drug offenses still had their protected status renewed by the Obama administration. Another immigrant was arrested in possession of a firearm, although no conviction has been recorded, and three of those arrested had had their protected status revoked. Immigrants who are eligible for deferred action are required to have no criminal record, although it is as yet unclear when many of the criminal convictions were recorded.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was behind the arrests, which have caused controversy as deferred action is supposed to be for the benefit of young immigrants who have either graduated or enrolled in school and would make a positive contribution to American society. Over 675,000 undocumented young immigrants have been protected from deportation and given work permits since August 2012.
“With few fraud detection measures and effective background checks in place, it’s no surprise that ICE arrested over a dozen DACA recipients last week, most of whom had already been convicted of a crime,” says Bob Goodlatte, the Judiciary Committee chairman in the House of Representatives. “I and other members of the House Judiciary Committee have expressed concern about this for years.”