The White House will honor 10 young adults on Tuesday who came to the United States illegally and qualified for the president’s program to defer deportation actions.
Each person has qualified for the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, which delays removal proceedings against them as long as they meet certain guidelines.
They will be honored as “Champions of Change,” the White House said in a statement Monday because they “serve as success stories and role models in their academic and professional spheres.”
They emigrated from Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, India, Taiwan and the Philippines, and many of them work in professions related to immigration policy or have helped launch initiatives that promote reform.
The honorees have all worked to support comprehensive immigration reform in some way. They include a ThinkProgress writer and two people involved with Mi Familia Vota, ”a national non-profit organization working to unite the Latino community and its allies to promote social and economic justice through increased civic participation” by, among other things, ”expanding the electorate through direct, sustainable citizenship, voter registration, census education, GOTV and issue organizing in key states.”
Bercian Diaz said they found corruption in the Mexican government.
“They were asking for 500 pesos, 600 pesos. The federals took that money from us,” she said.
She said the Mexican federal police and immigration officers asked for money to “turn the other way.”
“The immigration officers took 1,500 pesos,” Bercian Diaz said.
“I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in the ability of Republican members of Congress to divine the thoughts and insights of children in Central American countries,” Earnest answered. “My point is, I’m not sure this withstands a whole lot of scrutiny.”
As it turns out, the Republican explanation does withstand a whole lot of scrutiny. Recent days have been filled with anecdotal reports, from local news outlets in Central America to major American newspapers, citing immigrants who say they came because they believe U.S. law has been changed to allow them to stay. And now comes word that Border Patrol agents in the most heavily-trafficked area of the surge, the Rio Grande Valley sector of Texas, recently questioned 230 illegal immigrants about why they came. The results showed overwhelmingly that the immigrants, including those classified as UACs, or unaccompanied children, were motivated by the belief that they would be allowed to stay in the United States — and not by conditions in their homelands. From a report written by the agents, quoting from the interviews:
“The main reason the subjects chose this particular time to migrate to the United States was to take advantage of the “new” U.S. “law” that grants a “free pass” or permit (referred to as “permisos”) being issued by the U.S. government to female adult OTMs traveling with minors and to UACs. (Comments: The “permisos” are the Notice to Appear documents issued to undocumented aliens, when they are released on their own recognizance pending a hearing before an immigration judge.) The information is apparently common knowledge in Central America and is spread by word of mouth, and international and local media. A high percentage of the subjects interviewed stated their family members in the U.S. urged them to travel immediately, because the United States government was only issuing immigration “permisos” until the end of June 2014…The issue of “permisos” was the main reason provided by 95% of the interviewed subjects.”
. . . Several Republican senators cited the Border Patrol report in the hearing with Secretary Johnson last week. Johnson said he had not seen the paper. “The document you read from, I have never seen,” Johnson told Republican Sen. John Cornyn. “It’s supposedly a draft document. I don’t know that I agree with the assessment there.”
“Well, they’re interviews with 230 of the people detained coming across the border,” Cornyn said.
“I’m not sure I agree that that is the motivator for people coming in — for the children coming into south Texas,” Johnson answered. “I think it is primarily the conditions in the countries that they are leaving from.”