FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LUPE Issues Travel Advisory for DACA Recipients
Traveling through Border Patrol checkpoints may result in rights violations, LUPE warns
The memo is alarming in that it permits Border Patrol to process the individual for removal “[w]here an agent finds derogatory information indicating that deferred action under DACA may no longer be appropriate.”
SAN JUAN, TX—La Union del Pueblo Entero issued a “travel alert” today informing DACA recipients considering travel to the Texas/Mexico border region in the near future to anticipate possible detention and other violations by Border Patrol officials.
DACA Detentions Continue
The alert comes amid cases of dreamers with valid DACA permits being detained at Border Patrol interior checkpoints for hours or even days. DACA recipients have faced threats of deportation, mental and emotional abuse, and other rights violations while in Border Patrol custody. DACA recipients should be prepared for increased scrutiny to their DACA eligibility and the possibility of being transferred into ICE custody. The travel alert applies to all DACA recipients traveling to and from the Texas/Mexico border region by car, bus, or plane. Additionally, this alert applies to all encounters with Border Patrol officials.
“All individuals have rights in encounters with Border Patrol,” said LUPE spokesperson John-Michael Torres. “Border Patrol may threaten you with deportation or even transfer you into ICE custody. Be prepared to defend your rights. Our goal is to protect dreamers and end arbitrary detention of DACA holders. Border Patrol must immediately clarify its policy toward DACA holders at interior checkpoints.”
DACA Holders Cautioned
DACA recipients that should strongly consider not traveling to or from the border region include:
- DACA recipients with a current invalid DACA, regardless if DACA has been submitted for renewal.
- DACA recipients with a current DACA, who may have had a brief or innocent departure prior to applying to DACA and reported on their initial DACA application.
- DACA recipients with current DACA, who may have had an encounter with law enforcement (excluding traffic violations).
- DACA recipients with current DACA, who may have had an encounter with law enforcement after obtaining DACA (excluding traffic violations).
All other DACA recipients should exercise caution if traveling to and from the border region.
“DACA recipients need to know the risk they are taking when traveling and should be prepared,” said Claudia Garcia, immigration service provider with LUPE and BIA accredited representative. “Border Patrol may tell you you no longer qualify for DACA and could put you in deportation proceedings.”
Regarding the detention of DACA recipients, U.S. Border Patrol states: “When a DACA recipient presents themselves for immigration inspection, they will temporarily be detained for accuracy and verification of status. Once substantiated, the DACA recipient will be processed and released accordingly.” But dreamers and their families have reported detentions of hours and even days, accompanied by threats of deportation from border agents.
Know Your Rights
DACA recipients are encouraged to:
- Know their rights in an encounter with immigration officials.
- Memorize the phone number of a family member who can reach an immigrant rights organization or reputable immigration lawyer on their behalf.
- In the case of a detention, dreamers should know not to sign anything without first consulting with a reputable immigration lawyer.
- Memorize their A# or USCIS# as it will be needed to locate them in detention facilities or the immigration system.
Know Your Rights materials can be found in English here and Spanish here. All DACA recipients are invited to attend LUPE’s Know Your Rights information sessions. A list of upcoming sessions can be found here.
Many communities along the US/Mexico border are cut off from the rest of the country by interior immigration checkpoints, through which residents must pass to reach destinations in the interior of the country. These checkpoints are located along highways and at airports, and are often miles away from the international border. Beneficiaries of DACA, who have a temporary reprieve from deportation, must present their DACA cards at these checkpoints in order to pass through.
“LUPE is disheartened and angered by the shift in CBP’s policy to require verification of status for every DACA recipient who crosses through a CBP checkpoint,” stated Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of LUPE.
If you are a DACA recipient and have been detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint, tell LUPE your story by calling 956-787-2233 from Mon – Fri, 9 am – 12 pm, 1 pm – 6 pm.
LUPE is a nonprofit organization that helps the community organize for and win a better quality of life. LUPE was founded in 1989 by farmworker and civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez. We are a membership-based organization and our strength is found in the participation of our over eight thousand members. LUPE is a member organization of the RGV Equal Voice Network.
Learn more about LUPE online at www.lupenet.org