Congressman Gonzalez Writes to President Trump, DHS, and CBP Regarding the Detention of DACA Recipients in Falfurrias, Texas
WASHINGTON—On Tuesday, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) sent 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, regarding the detention of a group of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station located in the 15th District of Texas.
“This incident signals a troubling shift in policing of these young people,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “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.”
Congressman Gonzalez raised concerns about a new policy that allows checkpoint personnel to temporarily detain DACA recipients while they conduct checks. The congressman was troubled that DHS attorneys suggested the DACA recipients could be moved from the checkpoint to a detention center while the checks were conducted. The congressman also pledged his support for H.R. 3440, the Dream Act of 2017, and other legislation that would protect DREAMers and give them a pathway to citizenship.
Read the full letter below to President Trump. Congressman Gonzalez sent similar letters to Acting Secretary Duke, and Acting Commissioner McAleenan.
September 12, 2017
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
Dear President Trump:
I hope this letter finds you well.
On Monday, September 11, nine Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients were detained at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Falfurrias Station located in the 15th District of Texas, which I represent in the U.S. Congress. To summarize for you, pursuant to a policy flushed out the week before, U.S. Border Patrol agents detained the young immigrants, who were en route to Corpus Christi. Mind you, these young people were documented, and had been issued unexpired DACA permits by the United States of America.
This situation caused me to consider, for the first time in my legal career the idea that, perhaps federal agencies and personnel should take a “Presidential Tweet” more seriously. I now wonder whether your tweet was an attempt to reassure DACA recipients that no action would be taken against them. Yet there is a departmental policy now in effect that CBP personnel will now temporarily detain DACA recipients at checkpoints while they conduct checks, a policy that signals a shift in the policing of these young immigrants.
You should also know that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol attorneys suggested these children or young people could be moved from the checkpoint to a detention center while these “checks” are conducted. However, it is not the policy of CBP to perform this mandatory screening of adults. Nor do they open the back of every semi-trailer that passes through these checkpoints (possibly containing dead human beings, drugs, or immigrants being moved like cattle). Instead, your administration has chosen to protect the nation from 800,000 young people who call the United States home.
Before being approved, DACA applicants undergo fingerprinting and retina scans as part of their background check. Those accepted are then issued a DACA authorization card, which clearly displays an expiration date. The only real fact we know is that the first child arrived around 9 a.m. CT, and was not released until approximately 2:30 p.m. CT. The length of time due to poor data quality, according to CBP. One must find himself wondering, what checks are being performed? This begs the question, what exactly are these agents verifying, or checking in regard to these children and young people?
I believe that these actions by CBP well indicate the end of the era of reason, and the beginning of a new kind of humanitarian crisis. How far are we from rounding up these children and young people for deportation, and removal from our country, so that they fit on the “right side” of the wall you are building?
I hope to hear from you soon with a response to this issue. Given your support of DACA, I am a co-sponsor of several versions of the DREAM Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. Should a vote on this legislation be held in the House, I would proudly support it and vote yes.
If you have any questions, or wish to discuss this further with me, please call me on my cell phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Member of Congress