Do DREAMers Have “Clean Criminal Records”? Of Course Not, But That Doesn’t Stop #FakeNews From Claiming They Do.
As President Trump threatens to fulfill his long-overdue campaign promise to reverse Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA], the Fake News media is going into overdrive with propaganda about this unconstitutional Obama program. One of the most repeated refrains: DREAMers—illegals allegedly brought as children, so called because the original failed Congressional attempt to Amnesty them was portentously named the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act—pose no threat to public safety because of our government’s intense vetting of them. It’s a lie.
A few examples:
- In a USA Today explainer, the most circulated print newspaper in the country asserts, “They had to have a clean criminal record.” [What is DACA and why might Trump end it? , September 1, 2017]
- VOX,com’s Matthew Yglesias [Email him] writes that DACA recipients “need a nearly spotless criminal record” [4 stories that actually mattered this week, September 1, 2017]
- In an Op-Ed in The Hill, Obama’s undersecretary at Homeland Security at the time DACA was enacted, John D. Cohen [Email him] writes that only those with “no criminal history are allowed to participate”. [Trump’s decision to end DACA creates a national security threat, August 31, 2017]
- The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin email her]claims that “since DACA screens out those with a criminal record” then “the usual (exaggerated, and largely false) accusations leveled by anti-immigrant types about immigrants” don’t apply. [DACA: A Republican dilemma, September 1, 2017]
Even some conservative publications critical of DACA appear to have accepted this line. The Daily Caller reported: “The policy also requires that an applicant have a clean criminal record.” [Tennessee AG Drops Out Of DACA Lawsuit, by Jack Crowe, September 1, 2017]. An anti-DACA editorial in the Washington Examiner echoed that they must have a “largely-clean criminal record” [DACA deferred: Leave immigration reform to Congress, September 2, 2017]
Needless to say, this is untrue. On its face, DACA has many loopholes. And in practice, it’s far worse.
DACA only requires that illegals
have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
So anyone with two non-significant misdemeanor convictions–which can include assault, drug possession, theft etc.–can receive this Amnesty. Further, everyone who knows anything about the criminal justice system knows that many people guilty of felonies plead down to misdemeanors. And the Supreme Court case Padilla v. Kentucky exacerbated this problem by requiring aliens to be informed of the immigration consequences of their pleas, so they often make deals with the prosecutors explicitly to evade deportation.
Leftist prosecutors are often eager to let criminal aliens stay in the country, leading to predictable results. For example: Cape Verdean immigrant Bampumim Teixeira admitted to committing two bank robberies, but prosecutors agreed to let him plead down to a single misdemeanor larceny charge to avoid deportation. Shortly after his release, he murdered two doctors. [Suspect in doctors’ slayings avoided deportation with plea deal for earlier bank heists, Boston Herald, May 10, 2017]
To make matters much, much, worse, many cities have explicit policies to avoid convicting aliens of deportable offenses. As the New York Times reported,
Now that President Trump’s hard line has made deportation a keener threat, a growing number of district attorneys are coming to the same reckoning, concluding that prosecutors should consider potential repercussions for immigrants before closing a plea deal. At the same time, cities and states are reshaping how the criminal justice system treats immigrants, hoping to hopscotch around any unintended immigration pitfalls.
[Prosecutors’ Dilemma: Will Conviction Lead to ‘Life Sentence of Deportation’?, by Vivian Yee, July 31, 2017]
The NYT’s Yee [Email her] details how the Seattle D.A.’s office let a DACA recipient plea down from a DUI to reckless driving explicitly to avoid having her status revoked.
She reports other examples: California law requires prosecutors to consider immigration consequences and even allows aliens to erase and revise past criminal convictions to avoid deportation. The Brooklyn DA’s office (headed by Puerto Rican Eric Gonzalez) issued a memo that “We must ensure that a conviction, especially for a minor offense, does not lead to unintended and severe consequences like deportation”.
The Baltimore State’s Attorney Office preferred euphemisms, but sent the same message, telling prosecutors to “please be certain to consider those potential consequences to . . . the defendant.” What this means, incredibly: In addition to undermining federal immigration law, these prosecutors are advertising “that they will charge a criminal alien with a lesser offense than presumably they would charge a United States citizen,” as Attorney General Sessions put it. [Baltimore prosecutors told to consider consequences for prosecuting illegal immigrants, Baltimore Sun, Apr. 28, 2017]
These problems exist even assuming that DHS accurately ascertains each DACA applicant’s criminal record and gang affiliations. However, especially under the Obama administration, this has not been the case. When a legal immigrant applies for citizenship, he must undergo a (relatively) strict public safety check, including interviews, biometric tests—especially important as “undocumented” immigrants could have committed crimes under a different name—and an FBI background check. [USCIS Policy Manual, Background & Security Checks]. But none of these are required or used in practice under the regulations which govern DACA’s background check. [8 C.F.R. §§. 335.1-2]
This poor screening inevitably leads to violent criminals receiving Amnesty. In one striking example, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez received DACA status despite being in a federal database for gang membership. A month after he gruesomely murdered four people (one of them America’s Top Model contestant Mirjana Puhar, right) then USCIS director Leon Rodriguez [Email him] admitted his Deferred Action request “should not have been approved” in the first place. After congressional pressure, Rodriguez reported at least 20 other known gang members who had received DACA. [Obama gives amnesty to known gang member, ‘Top Model’ murder suspect, by Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, Apr. 21, 2015]
The Trump Administration has certainly improved the vetting procedures, and has modestly increased (by 30%) the revocations of DACA status “due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns.” But there’s no indication it can properly screen the 800,000 illegal aliens granted Executive Amnesty by Obama. [Feds: 30% surge in illegals losing DACA freedom for crimes, gang violence, by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, August 29, 2017]
President Trump campaigned on ending this illegal and unconstitutional amnesty on his first day of office. There are many compelling reasons for him to fulfill this promise, but public safety alone justifies rescinding DACA.
Washington Watcher [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.