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Recent deportation case raises concerns about DACA protections

In 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program went into effect. The program, which was championed by President Barak Obama, allows undocumented individuals who came to the U.S. before they turned age 16 to obtain permission to stay and work in the U.S. for a two-year renewable time frame. In addition to coming to the U.S. prior to turning age 16, DACA applicants must meet a series of other requirements related to their age and current removal or deportation status.

The recent deportation case of a 32-year-old mother of three, who was protected under the DACA program, has raised many red flags among other DACA program participants and U.S. immigration lawyers. According to the Huffington Post, the 32-year-old mother went through the process of obtaining what she believed was documentation that would allow her to travel to her native Mexico to visit family and then return to the U.S.

The re-entry permit, which is known as an advance parole, allows undocumented individuals with DACA status to return to the U.S. for humanitarian and/or other sanctioned reasons. However, upon arriving at the U.S. airport, the mother was denied re-entry and deported back to Mexico. She was accompanied by two of her three children whom she was traveling with, both of whom are U.S. citizens.

According to the woman's attorney, the mother was deported in 2004. However, "the deportation order had not disqualified her from receiving her DACA authorization." Additionally, she was able to obtain an advance parole permit and therefore had every reason to believe that she would be allowed to return to the U.S.

While U.S. immigration officials refused to commit specifically on the woman's case, a spokesperson stated that "applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the U.S." The woman's attorney stated that, while her client is being allowed to return to the U.S., she will likely face deportation and be forced to go through the process to "redetermine her DACA status."

This woman's story illustrates the numerous challenges that undocumented immigrants face under the contested DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. Individuals who have questions or concerns about these programs and their specific status and rights, would be wise to contact an immigration attorney.


Source: The Huffington Post, "DACA Recipient Deported After Visiting Mexico," Roque Planas, Feb. 2, 2016

The Huffington Post, "Woman Deported After Visiting Mexico Will Be Allowed To Return: Lawyer," Roque Planas, Feb. 4, 2016

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