Since the presidential election, a handful of DREAMers have run into complications with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. There have been allegations of gang affiliation and human trafficking. Others were detained for drug possession and an expired status.
A DREAMer ended up in jail for a traffic warrant — and ICE was still called.
All of these DREAMers, with the exception of one, have been released. However, their detainment called into question ICE’s stance on young legal immigrants — until now.
On Thursday, March 9, ICE sent several tweets that made their stance on DREAMers clear.
"DACA is not a protected legal status, but active DACA recipients are typically a lower level of enforcement policy," ICE wrote in the first of four tweets. ICE is referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program DREAMers are a part of, which the Obama administration created.
Through DACA, more than 750,000 DREAMers were given work permits and driver's licenses to legally work, attend college, and travel.
But now recipients are seeing a complete reversal in the government's attitude towards them.
"Deferred action may be revoked anytime especially when someone commits a crime or poses a national security of public safety threat," ICE continued on Twitter. "Deferred action does not prevent DHS from executing a removal order."
Young immigrants go through an extensive background check process to become part of the program. However, ICE reminded DREAMers that they're still at risk of deportation and aren't Americans by law.
"Since the start of DACA in 2012, the [Department of Homeland Security] has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation," ICE wrote in their last tweet about DACA.
Government officials have called these tweets unnecessary.
Several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus released joined statements expressing their outrage over ICE's tweets.
"It is shameful that ICE is ratcheting up fear and terror in young people who courageously stepped out of the shadows, got right with the law, and applied for DACA," said Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham. "These are young people who represent the best of America. For the administration to behave in such a hostile manner toward them is unacceptable.”
"President Trump and his people should keep their hands off of the DREAMers, period," said Illinois representative Luis V. Gutierrez. "Tweeting out that every DACA recipient is vulnerable to deportation is just another way this president is trying to create fear in immigrant communities … It is disgusting behavior on the part of the Department of Homeland Security and the White House and it needs to stop."
Arizona representative Raúl M. Grijalva wants immigrants to stay strong:
"Trump and his administration continue to imply that they would rather punish DACA recipients for choices they never made. Trump should know that fear is not a substitute for leadership – he can continue trying to terrorize immigrant communities, but immigrants will rise above his hate each and every time."