Some DREAMers Not ‘Good People’

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 20, 2016

Here’s a good example of how crazy the debate about what to do with the DREAMers is. Listen to this interview that features Jirayut Latthivongskorn, the first confessed illegal immigrant enrolled in the University of California system as a medical school student at UC San Francisco. Latthivongskorn’s family came to the United States on a tourist visa from Thailand, and never went home.

DREAMer at her sentencing hearing on two counts of hit and run homicide.

In the video, Latthivongskorn talks about the anxiety he’s experience post-Donald Trump’s election. Trump promised to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which means that Latthivongskorn’s DACA permit might not be renewed. Latthivongskorn is the highest achieving DACA holder to catch the press’ fancy. Literally dozens of DACAs have been the subject of hand-wringing coast-to-coast stories about their deportation fears. Trump’s recent statement that he would reach an agreement on DACAs that would satisfy all parties has not ended the onslaught on misleading journalism.

But little is written about DREAMers who aren’t medical school-bound like Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros convicted on two counts of hit and run homicide. Garcia-Cisneros, who killed two children playing in a leaf pile, obtained her driver’s license through her DACA status. After serving a brief jail sentence, the Garcia-Cisneros deportation case was dismissed. As a result, she returned to DACA status, is protected from removal, holds a work permit and has a Social Security number.

This DREAMer and known gang member, Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the 2015 death of 19-year-old beauty queen Mirjana Puhar and two other victims. Rangel-Hernandez’s DACA status prevented Immigration and Customs Enforcement from removing him in 2013.

The list of DREAMers’ victims is long, but the crimes are rarely reported in national media. To be sure, some of the DACAs are, as Trump likes to say, “Good people.” But when a program that provides affirmative benefits to illegal immigrants and protects them from deportation goes forward without face-to-face interviews, and more than 98 percent of the applicants are approved, bad people will inevitably be included.
 

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