Originally published by Lancaster Online
Osman Aroche Enriquez and his fiancee were looking forward to celebrating their son’s first birthday Saturday.
Aroche Enriquez, 27, is a graduate of Lampeter-Strasburg High School and works as a stonemason. A native of Guatemala, he has been protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which covers immigrants brought to the U.S. as children without legal authorization.
But his protected status expired when delays at the U.S. Post Office caused his DACA renewal application, and those of thousands of other applicants, to miss a tight deadline imposed when President Trump’s administration rescinded the DACA program in September.
Following a media outcry, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office said it will notify applicants whose paperwork was delayed and allow them to reapply.
But on Monday, a state police officer pulled Aroche Enriquez over as he was driving to work.
He was handed over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. As of Wednesday he remained in ICE custody at the York County Prison.
Details of the case, which may be the first of its kind, were disclosed nationally Wednesday by the website Vox.
At a brief rally Wednesday evening in Lancaster, local DACA recipients expressed outrage. They said it isn’t right for the federal government to withdraw the protection it promised them.
“We live with a lot of fear,” said Audrey Lopez, a 28-year-old originally from Peru. A graduate of Millersville University, she recently moved to Washington, D.C., for graduate school.
“It could happen to any one of us,” said Claudia Llewellyn, a 29-year-old city resident and native of Honduras.
The rally followed the Lancaster appearance of Inside Out / Dreamers, a daylong photo projectaimed at drawing attention to the DACA issue.
There are an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 DACA recipients nationwide. The recipients are also known as “Dreamers” after the DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, pending Congressional legislation that would have restored their protections.
When the Trump administration rescinded DACA, it set a March 5 deadline for Congress to replace the legislation.
Advocates say Congress needs to act much sooner — by the end of the year — or it will put many thousands of DACA recipients at risk, people who have spent the majority of their lives in the U.S.
More than 10,000 recipients have lost their protected status already, according to Church World Service, a national faith-based nonprofit.
Church World Service’s Lancaster office assisted Aroche Enriquez with his renewal application.
In a statement, his fiancee, who has a green card, pleaded for his release, saying: “Our son is just a baby, and it’s very hard for me.”
Carrie Carranza, an immigration legal advisor for Church World Service, called on U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, who represents Lancaster in the 16th Congressional District, to take action on DACA recipeients’ behalf.
Smucker continues to support a legislative fix in place of DACA, Bill Jaffee, Smucker’s communications director, said Wednesday.
However, the representative has been mum on what provisions he thinks it should contain.
Rep. Pat Meehan, who represents a portion of Lancaster County, along with 33 other Republican U.S. House members, recently signed a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for legislation “to protect DACA recipients before the holidays.”