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Can ‘dreamers’ leave the country and return?

Nicknamed “dreamers,” those allowed to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program must know exactly what legal rights and obligations they have. This was a program that started under President Barack Obama, and some residents are still protected under its guidelines.

One key thing they should know is that they are not allowed to leave the country and return at will, as actual U.S. citizens are. Attempting to do so could get members of the DACA program put into detention.

This was clearly illustrated in a case where a young college student went to a mall near the border of Mexico, while riding with his roommate. He had been in the United States since he was seven years old, so he really considered it his home.

When leaving the mall, the roommate accidentally took a wrong turn. This put them on a ramp, without exits or turnarounds, that led from the United States to Mexico. Trapped on the road, the two accidentally attempted to cross the border.

The college student was stopped and held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. He spent days in detention for the simple mistake before finally being allowed to leave.

The DACA program has technically been cancelled by current president Donald Trump. However, a court decision countered this policy reversal on a temporary basis, so those in the program may be able to renew their status.

With everything up in the air right now, it can get confusing, even for people who have been living in the United States for nearly their entire lives. As this story shows, it’s critical that they know all of their legal rights.

Source: Jewish Standard, “Israeli ‘dreamer’ threatened with deportation after accidentally entering Mexico,” Jan. 16, 2018