The following DACA field report comes from Carmen Cornejo of Dream Act Arizona:
Cesar was stopped for allegedly driving with an expired license plate and subsequently failing to produce a driver’s license. He became suspect to be in the country illegally, enough reason in Arizona to be locked up and sent to dreadful 4th Ave. Jail, the realm of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies. He spent that night among hard core criminals. Later, a fight broke up inside the jail. Thankfully he was unharmed but big and tall Cesar confessed he was really fearful.
This event brought out reality to immigrant youth, DACA applicants and grantees, who were reminded once more of SB1070 and Governor Jan Brewer’s executive order to deny DACA grantees of an Arizona Driver’s License. Click here to read the article from the Arizona Republic on the executive order by Governor Brewer.
Cesar stated repeatedly to Phoenix Police Officer he was a DACA applicant and was not subject to deportation anymore. The police officer went ahead anyway. Cesar spent 22 hrs. at 4th Ave. Jail, his mug shot taken with the footnote “failure to show AZ driving license, ID “ as an explanation and posted on the Maricopa County Sheriff Office (MCSO) website which shows the public how Joe is “tough on criminals”.
Cesar believes he could have been released a couple of times during the process, one when he was in front of the city judge, who declared being confused by the circumstances. Finally, Cesar was released upon being transferred to ICE jurisdiction. His arrest and detention exposed bad policy: the diversion of law enforcement resources into a deportation case that proceeds no longer.
Sadly, even DACA grantees (since Arizona will not be granting driver’s licenses) will be safe from arrest and hours of detention. We may see legal challenges in the future due to this attempt to single out beneficiaries of legal presence. But at ADAC we question what the point is in harass, humiliate and put in danger young persons who had entrust our system by bringing forward their personal information through deferred action?
The license plate issue? It was a mistake of Arizona's Motor Vehicle Division which failed to update Cesar's vehicle information.