A 22-year old student at UC San Diego was in the United States as a “dreamer,” using the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It was started under President Barack Obama’s administration.
However, he ran into trouble near the border with Mexico and wound up getting arrested. He was riding with his roommate, who then took a wrong turn. The vehicle ended up in Mexico, though not intentionally.
Under the DACA program, those who have been granted entrance to the United States do not have permission to leave and re-enter the country as they please. Since he crossed the border, he was arrested and held in immigration detention for five days.
If that wasn’t bad enough, he was almost done with his degree at UC San Diego. He had only two classes left.
In a move his legal team admitted was “unbelievable,” the government allowed him to leave the Otay Mesa Detention Center after less than a week. His team said they felt that the desire to get him back to school to finish his degree may have played a role. They also noted that he was doing fine, though he was stressed out from the whole ordeal.
This case does a good job of illustrating how even a minor, honest mistake can be very problematic when dealing with immigration laws. It’s critical for people to know exactly what status they have and what they’re allowed to do, intentionally or otherwise, under the current laws. When mistakes happen, it’s also crucial for them to know all of their legal options.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, “UCSD dreamer released from immigration detention,” Kate Morrissey, Jan. 12, 2018