La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an immigrant rights organization, issued a travel advisory on Saturday for DACA recipients traveling through immigration checkpoints.

The travel alert warns that DACA recipients should “anticipate possible detention and other violations by Border Patrol officials,” according to a statement from LUPE.

“All individuals have rights in encounters with Border Patrol,” said LUPE spokesperson John-Michael Torres in a statement. “Border Patrol may threaten you with deportation or even transfer you into ICE custody. Be prepared to defend your rights. Our goal is to protect dreamers and end arbitrary detention of DACA holders. Border Patrol must immediately clarify its policy toward DACA holders at interior checkpoints.”

The Rio Grande Valley is one of the border regions in the U.S. that is “caged in” by immigration authorities with the U.S./Mexico border to the South and border patrol checkpoints to the North. For thousands of undocumented immigrants living in the Rio Grande Valley, traveling outside of the region is virtually impossible without encountering immigration agents, effectively being cut off from the rest of county and external resources.

LUPE issued the travel alert after they became aware that DACA recipients with valid permits were being detained at interior checkpoints “for hours or even days,” according to their statement, “where they faced threats of deportation, mental and emotional abuse, and other rights violations while in Border Patrol custody.”

LUPE also warns DACA recipients “should be prepared for increased scrutiny to their DACA eligibility and the possibility of being transferred to ICE custody.”

DACA recipients that should strongly consider not traveling to or from the border region include:

  • DACA recipients with a current invalid DACA, regardless if DACA has been submitted for renewal.
  • DACA recipients with a current DACA, who may have had a brief or innocent departure prior to applying to DACA and reported on their initial DACA application. 
  • DACA recipients with current DACA, who may have had an encounter with law enforcement (excluding traffic violations).
  • DACA recipients with current DACA, who may have had an encounter with law enforcement after obtaining DACA (excluding traffic violations).

LUPE will be hosting Know Your Rights Sessions throughout the Rio Grande Valley this month. Learn more about the sessions on their website.

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