Young immigrants now protected from deportation will be quickly removed from the U.S. by President Trump’s plan to boost deportations, even if he doesn’t target them directly, a former immigration official in the Obama administration tells McClatchy Newspapers. Advocates in the immigration community are bracing for Trump on Monday to eliminate several of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including the deferred action program, known as DACA, that protects an estimated 750,000 immigrants brought here illegally as children.
Leon Fresco, who headed the U.S. Justice Department Office of Immigration, said that even if Trump doesn’t terminate the program or promises not to directly pursue the young immigrants, more than a thousand so-called Dreamers will likely be targeted in deportation raids, including those with orders of removal and minor criminal records. “DACA kids will in the very near future, in a matter of weeks, be apprehended as part of these sweeps of unexecuted orders of removal,” said Fresco, a former deputy assistant attorney general for the department’s civil division. Because the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is a form of prosecutorial discretion, it’s not a real status and can be revoked at any time. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security told DACA recipients their personal information would not be used for enforcement purposes, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be swept up in other enforcement actions, Fresco said.