Concerns Arise Over DACA Recipients With Prior Arrests As Program Turns 12

Twelve years after its inception, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continues to spark debate, particularly regarding its lenient standards. Created by former President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA has shielded nearly a million illegal aliens from deportation. However, data reveals that thousands of these individuals have prior arrest records.

Records from the Trump administration in 2019 disclosed that almost 68,000 DACA recipients had prior arrests for crimes including murder, rape, and kidnapping. Despite these serious offenses, fewer than 30,000 applicants with prior arrests were denied or had their DACA status revoked.

The statistics are alarming: over 25,000 were arrested for drunk driving, 3,300 for assault, nearly 1,500 for burglary, 600 for hit-and-run, 259 for sex abuse or child rape, 170 for kidnapping, 62 for rape, 30 for animal cruelty, 15 for murder, five for manslaughter, and two for possessing child pornography.

Jessica Vaughan from the Center for Immigration Studies highlighted these concerns during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Vaughan criticized the inadequate vetting process under then-USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, noting that 12% of DACA applicants had criminal histories, yet 85% were approved.

Among the most egregious cases are Luis Perez, sentenced to five life terms for a triple murder, and Francisco Javier Rios-Covarrubias, sentenced to 35 years for sexually abusing a three-year-old.

On DACA’s 12th anniversary, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and DHS Secretary Mayorkas are advocating for comprehensive immigration reform to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Biden emphasized his commitment to protecting these individuals, while Mayorkas called on Congress to act decisively.