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Federal judge: USCIS can't simply revoke someone's DACA status

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in order to qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, you must meet these requirements:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Entered the U.S. before age 16
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Had no lawful immigration status as of June 15, 2012
  • Are attending or graduated from high school or a GED program, or are honorably discharged from the military, and
  • Have never been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more minor misdemeanors, and otherwise pose no national security or public safety threat

Applicants who applied before the deadline and met all the requirements should have received DACA protections. If circumstances change and they no longer meet the requirements, however, their DACA status can be revoked and they could be slated for deportation.

The government has accused a 25-year-old suburban Seattle man of failing to meet the final requirement. They claim he has gang ties, which he denies, and therefore poses a public safety risk.

Last year, the USCIS revoked his DACA status and initiated deportation and removal proceedings. In response to a higher court ruling, however, it restored the man's DACA protections -- only to warn him that they were planning to revoke them again. Yet even the government has admitted that the gang allegations are false.

The consequences could be devastating for the Seattle man. With his DACA work authorization, he can work in California at vineyards. Without it, he has no way to support his 4-year-old, U.S. citizen son.

The man was taken into custody when agents arrested his father. At that time, agents insisted the younger man had a gang tattoo. In reality, the tattoo merely says the name of his hometown in Mexico. The agents also claim he admitted having gang ties, which he denies.

He passed three background checks to receive the DACA protections, and at no point has the government presented any other evidence of gang involvement. In fact, at one immigration hearing, the government acknowledged that it has no indication that he poses any safety risk.

"The government continues to make this assertion that it itself has disavowed," said the man's attorney, calling the gang claim a "stark, vicious lie."

The man's lawyers hope to convince the judge to order the USCIS both to stop threatening his DACA status and to stop falsely asserting he has gang ties. So far, the judge has ruled that the man's DACA status cannot be revoked until both sides present more evidence. He will then make a preliminary ruling.

For now, however, he is safe.

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