DACA Recipient Gets Deported – “My world would just be over… I would feel like a foreigner because I’ve been here in America all my life. I pledged allegiance from kindergarten to 12th grade.” These are the words of nineteen-year-old Luis Quintana Alvares, a Des Moines based US resident and a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Though his lawyer is fighting for his right to stay in the country, it looks like Alvarez will be deported for nothing more than one gram of cannabis.
This ties into fears that have spread throughout the country since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to eradicate DACA, an immigration program that has provided 790,000 working permits to young immigrants. While various states are fighting back–the State of California sued the Trump administration on September 11th on behalf of the 222,795 Californians who are threatened by such a change–it’s hard to know the outcome.
While Alvarez’ case has little to do with the potential end to the program, it does show the kind of mentality we’re dealing with. According to the Immigration and Nationalization Act, people are ineligible to take part in DACA if they are convicted of a felony or outstanding misdemeanor. Despite this, Alvarez’ attorney Ta-Yu Yang argued that the legislation excludes minor possession charges that involve 30 grams of marijuana or less.
Despite this, the judge presiding rejected Yang’s appeal, though she plans on re-appealing the Board of Immigration Appeals on behalf of Alvarez, who his mother says would be forced to return to the care of his father, who was abusive and who Alvarez has not seen since he was three years old. Some DACA recipients have been murdered by cartels upon deportation to Mexico and the risks of return for someone who hasn’t been in the country since the age of 11 months are numerous. This country is where Alvarez was raised and has spent his whole life; it is unfair to ignore all of that and return someone to a place they have no connection with over a few hits worth of weed.