By Ken Stone
On the eve of President Trump’s State of the Union address, San Diego’s Border Patrol has announced the arrest of two DACA recipients in connection with human smuggling.
The separate incidents involved a 22-year-old Riverside County man and a 20-year-old man whose residence wasn’t given.
San Diego sector Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Olmos, a spokesman, said: “We’re not allowed to disclose the names.”
He couldn’t reveal where they are being held, but a news release Monday said one of the men was being kept in Department of Homeland Security custody for removal proceedings.
One incident was about 8 a.m. Thursday, where Border Patrol agents arrested two undocumented immigrants and later saw two suspicious vehicles on Buckman Springs Road in the Campo area of East County, said the news release.
Agents followed one car — a blue Honda sedan — and conducted an immigration inspection at the Border Patrol immigration checkpoint, the agency said.
“Agents questioned the driver, a 22-year-old male Mexican national, who admitted that he was performing scouting duties for a smuggling crew,” said a Border Patrol statement. “He also admitted that he was coordinating with another driver of a vehicle to relay information related to Border Patrol operations in the area and the status of the Border Patrol checkpoint to aid in illegal smuggling.”
The Border Patrol said its agents learned that the driver was a DACA recipient and that he had “successfully participated in alien smuggling on multiple occasions.”
A 25-year-old U.S. citizen later was arrested in connection with the smuggling case, the agency said.
In a second incident, last Wednesday, agents received a citizen’s tip about a suspected smuggling incident near Torrey Pines State Beach.
The vehicle involved was tracked to the side of Interstate 5 near Dairy Mart Road near the border about 12:10 p.m., where agents conducted an immigration check.
Agents found three men inside the vehicle — the driver (a 20-year-old DACA recipient), his 22-year-old cousin who is a Mexican national illegally residing in the United States, and a 21-year-old Mexican national illegally in the country, said the agency.
“Both the driver and his cousin admitted their involvement with human smuggling in the area,” said the agency. “The driver, a beneficiary of DACA which has since expired, is currently being held in federal custody.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego didn’t immediately respond to a request for details.
Olmos, the local Border Patrol spokesman, said the agency has issued releases like this in the past, specifying the status of the arrested such as B1 or B2 visas.
On Tuesday night, Trump is expected to address immigration issues in his national address.
His view of how to deal with “Dreamers,” the young people brought to the United States illegally but protected by an Obama-era order, is being watched carefully.
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