Several suspected DACA recipients were detained at a U.S. border crossing on Monday, although people with that status remain in the country legally for six months after the Trump administration announced the program would be phased out.
According to Valley Central, at least one of the people detained has been released. The incident occurred at the Falfurrias checkpoint in Texas, about 85 miles north of the border between McAllen, Tex. and Reynosa, Mexico.
According to that 28-year-old’s lawyer, Elba Rocha, her client was detained while traveling to Corpus Christi for work. Two other people, who were U.S. citizens, were released. The DACA recipient, who has not been identified by name, was allegedly held for seven hours, according to Channel 5 News. During that time, the recipient’s address was verified in a background check, and finger prints were taken.
DACA, which stand for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an immigration program allowing people who were brought to the U.S. as minors to live and work legally in the U.S. It began under the Obama administration in 2012, but last week the Trump administration announced the program was being phased out over the next six months. Congress must act to solidify the program with legislation before March, or recipients will no longer remain in the U.S.
But until then, current recipients can legally move about the U.S.
“When a DACA recipient presents themselves for immigration inspection, they will temporarily be detained for accuracy and verification of status,” U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Robert Rodriguez told Channel 5 news. “Once substantiated, the DACA recipient will be processed and released accordingly.”
U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Tex., said his office had been in touch with CBP about the incident.
“CBP must ensure that Border Patrol agents at all levels are informed that DACA is still in place for the next six months. DACA recipients cannot and should not be held for hours at checkpoints due to confusion over changes in policy,” Vela said in a statement, according to The Monitor. “My office has been in touch with CBP to convey this information and I will be following up with CBP to know what guidance is being provided for agents across the field.”
A statement from CBP indicates more than one person was released after being detained while their documents were checked.
“USBP agents encountered nine individuals at the immigration checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas. The individuals claimed to be enrolled in DACA,” CBP said in a statement. “Agents validated their claims by reviewing and verifying their documents. The individuals were then released to proceed with their journey, consistent with established policies and procedures.”