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'Dreamer' brothers deported after revealing college plans to ICE

People often come to this country in the hope that they will find better lives for themselves and their families. Often, they are brought here as children as their families flee horrific conditions in their home countries. These former child immigrants, often called "Dreamers," are generally considered blameless -- but that doesn't change their immigration status.

The Obama Administration gave protection to qualifying Dreamers through his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The Trump Administration has not ended the program, but DACA is in jeopardy.

Unfortunately, not all Dreamers applied for or qualified for protection under DACA. Two El Salvadoran brothers who could have been poster children for Dreamer success were recently deported. It's not clear whether they applied for protection under DACA.

According to the Washington Post, the brothers, 19 and 22, are said to have entered the country illegally approximately eight years ago. Unfortunately, an immigration judge issued an order for removal in 2012. They were granted a stay in 2013, but further attempts to overturn the order had been unsuccessful.

The two young men have no criminal records. Their parents and two siblings live in the U.S.

Despite the removal order, the young men had remained in the U.S. and were leading quite successful lives. The older one, who has a "heart of gold," took extra classes to ensure he graduated from high school on time. The younger is an excellent soccer player who won a scholarship to attend Louisburg College in North Carolina.

With tragic irony, it was that scholarship that seems to have triggered their deportation. During a recent routine check-in with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the 19 year-old told agents about his scholarship and college plans.

"The ICE agents told me they were deporting the kids because [the younger one] got into college, and that showed they intended to stay in the U.S.," said their attorney.

A spokesman for ICE denied that was the case. He said they were merely deported due to the 2012 removal order, and that decisions about the timing of deportations are made on a case-by-case basis.

The two young men were deported to El Salvador, a country with the highest murder rate in the hemisphere. The fact that they have been deported will make their efforts to re-enter the country legally very difficult and time-consuming.

Although some may say that no one who entered the U.S. illegally deserves the chance to stay, this decision broke up a family in order to deport two promising young men who had been brought here as children. Should deportations like this one be our nation's policy priority?

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