Lizandro Claros, a Salvadoran illegal alien hoping to play collegiate soccer in North Carolina, has been arrested and slated for deportation.
Lizandro Claros is a 19-year-old local soccer star who played for Bethesda Soccer Club and received a partial scholarship to play college soccer in North Carolina. His 22-year-old brother, Diego, was going to accompany him to North Carolina and work to help defray Lizandro's college costs. Those plans evaporated over the weekend when the two brothers were apprehended by Federal immigration agents and they were deported back to El Salvador on Wednesday
Lizandro and Diego Claros are both illegal aliens and received leniency and a stay of removal from the Obama administration. Legislative attempts to give legal status to illegal aliens brought to the United States as children failed in the United States Senate in 2011. In response, Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Under the DACA program, illegal aliens who were brought into the United States as children are allowed to continue living and working in the country as long as they make regular check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Trump administration has not touched the DACA program yet, however illegal aliens who check-in with ICE have found themselves added to the short list for deportation.
This is what apparently happened to Lizandro and Diego. Lizandro had his regularly-scheduled ICE check-in in mid-August. During that meeting, he told the agent assigned to his case that he and his brother would be moving to North Carolina in the fall. The brothers explain that they wanted to be fully transparent about the scholarship opportunity.
ICE told Lizandro Claros that it would consider his request and asked the two brothers to come into the station. When they arrived, the two were apprehended.
Supporters of the President's immigration policies argue that American immigration law must be enforced and that the Executive branch should not be selectively enforcing the law on a case-by-case basis.
Critics point out that the two young men had no criminal records and should not have been apprehended, let alone deported, under the administration's current policies. Lizandro and Diego entered the United States when they were 11 and 14, respectively. However, they did not qualify for formal protection under DACA.
Under the Obama administration's DACA program, a recipient must have "continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time," and must have come "to the United States before reaching [their] 16th birthday." If Lizandro and Diego are 19 and 22 now, and claim to have entered the country when they were 11 and 14, that means they would have illegally entered the United States in 2009, two years after the DACA cut-off. The two young men now face deportation because they fall outside of the DACA program's protections.
The immigration advocacy organization CASA has criticized the Trump administration's decision to deport undocumented immigrants like the Claros brothers.
"They are the victims of an administration that is intent on criminalizing youth and destroying their potential," explained CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres.
The organization has spent the past few days protesting in front of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters in Washington DC.
This month, a bill known as the DREAM Act was reintroduced in the Senate with bi-partisan support. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who previously voted against the DREAM Act, is one of the bill's primary co-sponsors. The legislation would codify President Obama's DACA program and potentially even expand it to illegal alien children who fall outside of the executive order's rigid window.
Since President Trump took office, DHS reports show that illegal immigration across the southern border is down approximately 70 percent. The House of Representatives has also approved $1.6 billion in funding to secure the border, including building Trump's infamous wall. Conservatives assert that any discussion about amnesty must be predicated by securing the border, otherwise more people will enter the country illegally in search of permanent residency.
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, Lizandro Claros and his brother are now back in El Salvador.
What do you think? Should they have been released or should immigration law be strictly enforced? Let us know in the comment section below.