- The USCIS shared the data of about 900 DACA applicants with ICE.
- According to USCIS, it rarely shares such information.
- The information shared was only about certain immigrants.
Are undocumented immigrants in danger? The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shared data on hundreds of applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Comptroller General (GAO) revealed.
Although DACA was created in 2012 to offer temporary protection from deportation to undocumented minors who came to the country as children, this agency shared information about 900 applicants between June 2012 and June 2021.
Are undocumented immigrants in danger?
USCIS guidelines state that information from denied DACA applications would not be proactively provided to immigration authorities unless the applicant posed a potential risk to public safety or the application was potentially fraudulent, GAO said.
According to USCIS, there were 590,070 DACA recipients as of June 30, 2021. In total, it has granted DACA protection to more than 800,000 noncitizens. So, in GAO’s opinion, the occasions in which the federal agency shares such information occur in “rare circumstances.”
What information about undocumented immigrants was shared by USCIS?
Of the 106,000 DACA applications that USCIS denied, it referred less than 1% to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This 1% consisted of DACA applicants and recipients who “engaged in activities that disqualified them” from obtaining this benefit.
According to the Comptroller, these activities include having participated in “certain types of fraud or activities that represent a threat to national security or public safety.” GAO stressed that despite changes in immigration enforcement priorities since 2012, the Department of Homeland Security has generally not considered DACA recipients as immigration enforcement priorities.
USCIS has studied millions of applications from undocumented immigrants
For this analysis, the policies and guidelines of the USCIS, Customs and Border Protection, and ICE, as well as the circumstances in which the USCIS shared the information and interviewed officials from these agencies, have been studied.
In total, GAO said that USCIS has analyzed three million DACA applications, 800,000 initial requests, and 2.2 million renewals of this program. As of June 30, it had resulted in 106,000 refusals and 167,000 pending cases.
US citizen sues a Washington county for helping ICE
In other news, this week, a US citizen who was wrongly detained by ICE sued the authorities of the county of Pierce, Washington, for violating his civil rights and illegally incarcerating him.
Carlos Ríos, who has been a naturalized citizen of the United States for more than two decades, was arrested in 2019 by Pierce County Police for a misdemeanor offense. A day later, the charges were dropped, and according to state and federal laws, he should have been released.
Were prison officials cruel to Carlos Ríos?
Despite charges against Ríos being quickly dropped, the Pierce County jail officials continued to hold the Hispanic American even though they had no probable cause or a court order to do so. They waited for ICE agents to take custody, EFE reported.
The lawsuit, which also includes the Pierce Jail, alleges that prison guards contacted ICE to notify them about the Hispanic man’s scheduled release. This goes against Washington state law that specifically prohibits county jails from providing ICE agents with information about releasing a person or holding them in custody for the sole purpose of facilitating their arrest for immigration violations.
Ríos recounted the nightmare he lived
In a statement, Ríos said he lost a lot because of that arrest. “I was mistreated, kept in jail, and turned over to ICE despite being a US citizen. They made a serious mistake, and this type of abuse should not happen,” he said. Leila Kang, a lawyer for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which has supported Ríos in the case, warned in a statement that “Ríos’s case embodies the harm that can result when local officials detain people with immigration purposes in violation of the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the state of Washington.”
In September of last year, the US government agreed to pay $125,000 to settle the case. Ríos had been detained by ICE for a week even though he presented his US passport.
Texas Sheriff is investigated for confiscating money from undocumented immigrants
This same week, a sheriff in Texas near the border with Mexico was placed under a criminal investigation for allegedly making his officers illegally collect money from undocumented immigrants whom they detained during transit stops.
According to a report by The Texas Tribune, the head of the Real County Sheriff’s Department, Nathan Johnson, faces an investigation for allegedly confiscating cash from undocumented immigrants traveling in a truck. Filed as: Undocumented information is leaked by USCIS.
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