ICE has been reopening DACA recipients' immigration cases ahead of Supreme Court decision
A CNN investigation has found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reopened the “long-closed” immigration cases of at least 14 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients—and that that number stands to continue growing. “Immigration attorneys say the cases they are now seeing reopened show how ICE is preparing to deport DACA recipients if the Supreme Court ruling terminates the program,” CNN reported.
The administration has previously sought to reopen thousands of closed cases in general, but the DACA program is still in effect, and beneficiaries are supposed to be shielded from deportation. Attorney Selma Taljanovic told CNN that she’s had four cases reopened in just the past few weeks alone. “The examples I have had not had anything bad happen, no contact with law enforcement,” she said. The report found that reopened cases involved DACA recipients “who kept their noses clean,” immigration attorney Mo Goldman said. Anything major would endanger their enrollment in the program.
Goldman said that he was so shocked by receiving two notices in as many days that he got in touch with ICE officials to see if this was some sort of terrible mistake. It wasn’t. “I contacted the office of chief counsel at ICE, to see—they’re the ones who file these motions—to see if it was an error. The response was, that it was not and that they are re-calendaring people with DACA,” he continued. The investigation highlighted what immigrant rights advocates have been warning since the beginning of impeached president Donald Trump’s administration: ICE intends to target undocumented immigrants across the U.S., no matter how long they’ve lived here, and that’ll include DACA recipients should the Supreme Court end the program.
A decision regarding the administration’s termination of the DACA program is expected sometime in the first half of 2020. Legal observers said it appeared during last month’s oral arguments that the five conservative justices may side with the administration, even though it also appeared during those arguments that the chief justice didn’t understand the simple basics about what would happen should he help end it. “During the Supreme Court’s oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts was dangerously mistaken when he said the Trump administration is ‘not going to deport people’” if DACA ends, immigrant rights advocacy group United We Dream said, “and this CNN investigation shows us just how ICE is preparing to create a new wave of family separation crisis in every state of this country.”
ICE has already shown itself to be ruthless in targeting DACA recipients, including lying in courts of law about them. Now it’s hellbent on doing it on a much bigger scale. “Trump is working to deport these young people despite promising to protect them, and before the Supreme Court rules. This monstrous action cannot move forward,” 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro tweeted. “DACA must be preserved until real immigration reform is done.”