DREAMers continue to be affected by the Trump administration. Although Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials got the green light to detain any undocumented immigrant they come in contact with, it hasn't spared DREAMers – who legally reside in the US.
A fifth DREAMer is speaking out after ICE placed him in a detention center for three weeks for alleged human trafficking.
Jesus Arreola-Robles was detained by the San Diego Border Patrol on February 12 for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant cross the US-Mexico border.
The illegal activity was believed to have taken place on State Route 94 in Campo, California near the Mexican border.
He was taken to a detention center in Folkston, Georgia, where his family and lawyer had a difficult time reaching him.
Joseph Porta, the DREAMer’s lawyer, spoke out about a federal tracking system that is supposed to give information about detainees, but it was inaccurate.
Porta told ABC7:
“There’s been times where we locate him on the computer and 20 minutes later it says he’s no longer detained by ICE agents. It’s very troublesome because it’s preventing me from speaking to my client.”
Arreola-Roble's lawyer, Joseph Porta.
The 22-year-old spoke to Univision News after being released:
“They caught me and locked me up. I couldn’t talk to anyone. [ICE] took everything away from me – my car, my wallet, everything. I just left with the clothes I had on. I don’t have a phone or money. I have nothing.”
But it may be more than just material things that the Mexican native has lost. The DREAMer, who is the main caregiver of a younger sister with special needs, received a letter saying that his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) rights have been revoked because of this incident.
Through the DACA program, undocumented immigrants brought to the US at a young age are given work permits and legal residency for two years at a time. Arreola-Robles was 18 months old when he arrived in the US.
Porta was shocked to hear the charges against his client but knows that it’s a baseless accusation. He said:
“He has no real charges of human trafficking. The only charge that’s been put on him for deportation is entering [the US] without documents.”
Arreola-Roble was released, after paying $2,500, with the help of Lauren Burke, an accomplished lawyer from New York City who has been working on pro-bono immigration cases throughout the country.
She told ABC 7: “I really believe that all our liberation is tied up in the liberation of one another.”
The DREAMer’s family believes that this case should serve as a lesson for other DREAMers who feel that they won’t be affected by the Trump administration. “Anything that a person does without thinking can have large repercussions,” Porta said.
Arreola-Roble’s mother, a US permanent resident, stressed that:
“DREAMers need to value their work permits and make sure they’re behaving properly. Jesus’ father and I have always told him to take care of his DACA rights.”
The 22-year-old, who works multiple jobs, agreed with his mother:
“Always listen to your family. They tell you things for a reason.”
Arreola-Roble’s lawyer is confident that he will be able to fight the human trafficking charges successfully.