Illegal immigrants lined up in droves on August 15 to apply for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals, President Obama’s youth amnesty, but the number who will apply may be well more than double the first estimate.
The New York Times reported on Monday that 1.7 million illegal alien “youths” will likely apply for the amnesty and then to get work permits.
The program, two Republican legislators say in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, is likely to be rife with fraud because the government has not erected the necessary barriers to ensure that all the “youths” who apply for the amnesty are eligible for it.
According to the Times, the amnesty, which Obama announced in June, is the president’s “most ambitious” immigration initiative yet: “The program, which grants two-year deportation deferrals and work permits to illegal immigrants brought here as children, creates a herculean job for the federal agency in charge, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.” The Times continued:
Agency officials are expecting the biggest load of paperwork in the shortest amount of time for a new program since 1986, when more than three million immigrants who were here illegally became legal residents under an amnesty.
Because deferrals are temporary and must be renewed after two years — when Mr. Obama may no longer occupy the White House — administration officials have been uncertain how many illegal immigrants would come forward to apply.
Frighteningly, the Times reported, the work permits that Obama will provide these illegals, in an economy where unemployment is soaring at more than eight percent, are a path for other legal documents. “The work permit young immigrants can receive with the deferral opens many doors that have been firmly shut. They can obtain valid Social Security numbers and apply for driver’s licenses, professional certificates and financial aid for college,” the newspaper reported.
That means illegal immigrants may well be impossible to deport. Once the Land of the Free provides all these benefits, there isn’t much chance politicians will have the courage to take them away.
The Times’' figure of 1.7 million eligible illegals comes from the Migration Policy Institute, which says 1.2 million are eligible now, with another 500,000 gaining eligibility by turning 15 years old in the coming years.
According to USCIS, the guidelines for application, in addition to a $465 fee, give amnesty to illegals who:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or whose lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or
- are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
All these criteria mean that when Obama officially announced the program in June, he essentially declared the failed DREAM Act to be law, which is what his deputies had been observing in practice for more than a year. The number of illegals who will benefit has, like the cost of ObamaCare, doubled over previous estimates. When the Times and other news organizations reported on the Obama DREAM Amnesty in June, they estimated 800,000 illegals would benefit.
Fraud On The Horizon
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, want to know how the Obama administration will stop fraudulent applications for the amnesty, and how Obama will prevent a massive surge in illegals who get to stay because they are the parents of those eligible “youths.”
According to a letter they sent to the leftist Napolitano, “illegal immigrants must apply for work authorization.” The letter noted:
These illegal workers will compete for scarce jobs in difficult economic times with Americans who need to provide for their families. The Department has indicated that it may also grant relief to illegal immigrant parents who brought their children to the U.S. illegally. These parents will not be penalized for breaking the law when helping their illegal immigrant children apply for this new immigration benefit, and in turn, may also be allowed to work and compete with unemployed Americans.
Smith and Grassley noted that not only will these millions of immigrants compete with American workers for jobs, but “there seems to be little if any mechanism in place for vetting fraudulent applications and documentation submitted by those who seek deferred action.” They continued:
This administration will undoubtedly preside over one of the most fraud-ridden immigration programs in our history. Illegal immigrants will be eager to purchase or create fake documents showing that they arrived in the United States before the age of 16 and meet the continued physical presence requirements. DHS will be sorely taxed by the burden of disproving the evidence presented in each application. According to the Commission on Agricultural Workers, such fraud was prevalent during the 1986 Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) amnesty, where up to two-thirds of the amnesty applications for illegal immigrant "farmworkers" were fraudulent.
Smith and Grassley averred that the Obama administration has “made it distressingly clear” that the amnesty reprises the “large-scale fraud from the 1986 amnesty.” Their letter fingered the man running USCIS, Cuban-American Alejandro Mayorkas, who “indicated that confidentially [sic] will be protected when an individual applies for deferred action.”
The legislators worry that Mayorkas will permit illegals to commit fraud to stay in the country. “Director Mayorkas stated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could not use the information from deferred action applications in subsequent removal proceedings. He did not make any exception for fraud,” the legislators wrote to Napolitano.
The letter detailed how illegals used the SAW amnesty to stay in the country fraudulently and flatly stated immigration officials likely won’t do a thing about illegals who game the system. “Department officials indicated to Committee staff that they would not use fraud prevention and detection measures that you consider ‘too expensive’ or ‘time consuming’, or that would ‘unduly impact’ USCIS’s other responsibilities,” Smith and Grassley wrote. They added:
This attitude blatantly demonstrates that the Department has little regard for preventing fraud, especially since the law allows the Department to impose fees for the benefit of deferred action. The illegal immigrants themselves, rather than the American taxpayer or legal immigrants, should bear any expense associated with the program.
The legislators also observed that illegals who qualify for the amnesty are supposed to have attended school, yet “Department officials stated that verified school transcripts would not be required from applicants. This is the single most effective anti-fraud step the Department could take, but it appears that little effort will be taken to detect fraud on the front end.”
Smith argues that “illegals are at the top of [the] president’s jobs agenda," noting that the amnesty will be a “magnet for fraud and abuse,” allowing people who will compete for jobs with Americans who will pay the bills.
Photo of immigrants in Maryland lining up for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals applications August 15: AP Images