The DACA program was an executive order announced by President Obama which would give young undocumented immigrants the chance to integrate into society. Unfortunately, one such immigrant who came to the U.S. at an early age has been detained and may lose his chance at living a normal life due to mistake he made.
Edher Palafox was brought to the U.S. at the young age of 3 by his uncle in order to live a better life. He has lived in Overland Park, Kansas since then and considers himself to be an American. Among making his high school’s dean’s list he was also co-captain of the football team. While attending a community college, he worked full time in order to pay off his tuition bills.
However, things changed after he was arrested for possession of marijuana while driving. This mistake is enough to cost him his chance at applying for the DACA program. “I shouldn’t have had it in the car, or I shouldn’t have been doing it,” Palafox says. “But I feel like anybody else, they would have gotten the charges dropped, and I feel like I’ve been punished way more than I should have been.”
Palafox’s attorney, Genevra Alberti, says he is still the perfect DACA candidate. The government knows he is a hard working DREAMer and they should exercise discretion in this matter instead of starting removal proceedings in the first place. Even though Palafox had an application pending, immigration officials took him into custody and detained him.
The problem with Palafox’s application now is that he is no longer eligible for the program if he is in custody. The situation becomes complicated for undocumented immigrants because tiny misdemeanors can put them in ICE’s custody and it is up to them to decide whether or not these applicants will have a future in the U.S. “ICE is in this extremely powerful position as this gatekeeper. So we’d like to know how they’re making that decision,” says Patrick Taurel, of the advocacy group, American Immigration Council. Palafox has been released by ICE, but many others in a similar situation have not been so lucky. There is debate whether ICE should have so much power in deciding what happens to these DREAMER’s futures.
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