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Senate Dems introduce bill to keep DACA info private

Senate Dems introduce bill to keep DACA info private
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats introduced a bill Tuesday to ensure information given to the government by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries isn't used for immigration enforcement.

New Mexico Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE (D) led the bill, dubbed the Dreamer Confidentiality act.

“Nearly a million Dreamers across the country have come out of the shadows because of the promise that DACA represented, including more than 7,000 from New Mexico," said Heinrich in a statement.

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"These are some of our brightest students and veterans who came forward based on the promise that our government would not deport them and provided personal information about themselves and their families," he added.

Under DACA, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors are allowed to work and live in the United States without fear of deportation.

To apply to DACA, potential beneficiaries must provide the government with up-to-date personal information, pass a background check, and pay a fee.

The DACA application itself is an admission that the beneficiary is in the country illegally, and doubts have been raised since the program's inception as to whether the data collected by the government can be used against applicants.

"Dreamers across the country continue to face a harsh uncertainty about their future and are worried that the information they shared will be used against them. To do this would be an extraordinary and unprecedented breach of trust by our government,” said Heinrich.

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Heinrich's bill would ban the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees DACA, from passing the information collected to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) -- both agencies reside under DHS -- the Department of Justice, or any other law enforcement agency.

The bill includes exceptions to the ban in case of fraudulent claims, individual national security issues, or the investigation of non-immigration related felonies.

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