September 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union hosted a press call today to discuss the detention of nine Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients at the Falfurrias immigration checkpoint in Texas for several hours. The call featured Texas DACA recipient Abraham Diaz, Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU of Texas, Juanita Valdez-Cox of LUPE, and Julieta Garibay of United We Dream.

Reports indicate that they were held based on guidance from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to screen every DACA recipient they encountered. If true, this may have broad implications for DACA recipients nationwide. The DACA program currently remains in place, which means that recipients should not be detained.

A recording of today’s press call is available here.

The advocates had the following comments:

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas), in a letter to President Donald Trump, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Elaine C. Duke, and Acting Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Kevin K. McAleenan, noted, “This incident signals a troubling shift in policing of these young people. This begs the question, what checks are being performed? How far are we from rounding up these young people for deportation? I urge all DACA recipients to stay alert and refrain from traveling to Mexico or anywhere else outside of the U.S. at this time and know that I stand with them.”

Astrid Dominguez, ACLU of Texas, said, “After ending the DACA program, President Trump tweeted that no Dreamers should worry. But the incident this week shows the true impact of his decision: chaos, uncertainty, and division in our community. In one reckless decision, President Trump jeopardized the future of 800,000 young people, who are American in all but paperwork — 20 percent of whom live in border-towns. The detention of nine DACA recipients this week underscores the urgency for Congress to pass a bipartisan Dream Act.”

Abraham Diaz, Texas DACA recipient, said, “I am undocumented, unafraid, and I am here to stay. However, it is clear to me that Trump, Sessions, and others like them would like to see people like me and my family deported. They are employing fear tactics at the border to intimidate us and paralyze us. But we refuse to live in a police state where we face the constant threat of racial profiling, interrogation, harassment, detainment, deportation, and separation of our families. In the past week, in the Rio Grande Valley, we have seen significant mobilization of our community, including resolutions against Texas racial profiling law SB 4. This mass resistance and unity will continue.”

Juanita Valdez-Cox, LUPE Executive Director, said, “Earlier this week, I received a call from the wife of Eduardo, one of the DACA recipients held at the Falfurrias checkpoint while crossing the checkpoint for work at approximately 8:30am. Eduardo’s wife fretted about his safety and his employment. She called me again around 1 pm and they had not yet been released. Together, with the tireless efforts of Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Rep. Vela (D-Texas), we received information on their detainment. They were eventually released, but this kind of situation is extremely concerning. Was this a lack of training? Do CBP officers now think they have a right to do this? There are checkpoints everywhere. We implore CBP to release a statement on the situation, what DACA recipients should expect at checkpoints, and institute training for their officers. CBP needs to remedy this situation and stop the abuses that they are committing against innocent DACA youth.”

Julieta Garibay, United We Dream, said, “In response to the attacks on our community, immigrant youth across the country demand a clean Dream Act. We will not be pushed into darkness, and we are committed to our fight for human dignity and respect. But let me be clear about one thing: We will not accept any legislation that comes at the expense of our families, that further militarizes our borders, or funds mass deportations, detention camps, or a wall. Immigrant youth will not be used as a bargaining chip for racist politicians. We call on our community, our allies, and all people of conscience to demand that Congress pass a clean Dream act.”

 

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