Border Patrol agents in San Diego have arrested two men residing in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The men — who were involved separate incidents — were taken into custody under suspicion of human smuggling, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection news release.
The agency said the first arrest occurred on Jan. 24 near Torrey Pines State Beach, after authorities were alerted by a citizen claiming to have witnessed what appeared to be a smuggling incident.
Officials stopped a vehicle on the side of the interstate to conduct an immigration check. Three men — ages 20, 21 and 22 — were discovered inside of the vehicle
The 20-year-old male is a DACA recipient, officials said, while his 22-year-old cousin is a Mexican citizen living in the U.S. illegally. Authorities stated that the 21-year-old is also an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
CBP said both the driver of the vehicle and his cousin confessed to being involved in human smuggling. The driver was taken into federal custody.
The second arrest took place the following morning, when immigration officials conducted an inspection of a suspicious vehicle at an immigration checkpoint.
The 22-year-old driver admitted to authorities that he was “performing scouting duties for a smuggling crew,” according to the release.
Moreover, the suspect admitted to “coordinating with another driver of a vehicle to relay information related to Border Patrol operations in the area and the status of the Border Patrol checkpoint to aid in illegal smuggling.”
The accused has allegedly been involved with what CBP referred to as “alien smuggling” on numerous past occurrences.
Also a DACA recipient, the man is a resident of Riverside County, California.
He was detained by the Department of Homeland Security for violating the terms of his DACA status.
According to The Washington Times, 2,139 DACA recipients have had their status revoked as of the summer of 2017. That’s about 1 percent of the roughly 800,000 individuals who have been approved for the program.
Despite that relatively low percentage, the Obama-era executive order has attracted controversy since its inception in 2012.
The DACA program was not meant to provide a pathway to citizenship, but rather allowed people brought into the country illegally as children with a way to remain in the U.S. without without having to worry about being deported.
President Donald Trump announced in September 2017 that DHS would stop processing new DACA applications. The task of passing legislation that offers a long-term solution for the DACA issue was then turned over to Congress, which was given a deadline of March 5, 2018.
However, this decision has left many young illegal immigrants uncertain of their status, and despite the spring deadline, many have called on Congress to expedite the process of passing legislation.
During his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump called for an immigration deal that would aid dreamers.
In return, Trump wants an end to “chain migration” — the process of admitting individuals into the country after one family member has settled in the U.S. — as well as the “visa lottery program,” according to Bloomberg.
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