By Joe Guzzardi
March 16, 2015
Back in 2012, President Obama announced what would be the first in his multi-tiered, unconstitutional executive action amnesties. That year, Obama introduced deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), a plan to remove from the possibility of deportation certain alien children under age 31, who had come to the U.S. with their parents before they reached age 16.
Then in 2014, Obama loosened the original DACA requirements, and added a new program for which he also had no authority, deferred action for parents. DAPA will apply to about five million aliens who are parents of citizens or legal residents. Texas Federal Court Judge Andrew Hanen has temporarily enjoined DACA and DAPA.
The law as it applies to illegal immigrant parents of citizen-children is crystal clear. In his Wall Street Journal op-ed Michael McConnell, the Stanford Law School’s director of the Constitutional Law Center, wrote that under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, illegal-immigrant parents of U.S. citizens are required to wait until the child turns 21, and then must leave the country for 10 years before applying for a change of immigration status on account of that child. The INA provisions have been part of statutory law for 60 years. McConnell further wrote that the executive branch is not permitted to bestow affirmative benefits like work permits, social security numbers, and welfare entitlements without statutory authority and notice-and-comment-rule-making.
Although the administration has sold DACA and DAPA as humanitarian, common sense approaches to immigration that are advantageous to all, a recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweep exposed one of programs’ greatest risks—the failure to adequately vet applicants.
Last week, ICE arrested 15 people who were protected from deportation under Obama’s DACA executive action. Homeland Security confirmed that fourteen of the 15 had criminal convictions. The remaining illegal immigrant was arrested on a weapons violation, and at least one alien charged with drug offenses had his protective status extended in 2014 when Obama renewed the temporary stays for 2012 recipients. According to DACA regulations, illegal immigrants cannot be protected if they have criminal histories. In a news conference, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte told reporters that since few fraud detection measures or background checks are in place, the apprehensions didn’t surprise him.
Neither DACA nor DAPA applicants— past, present or future—have been or will be subject to face-to-face interviews that would help determine their worthiness as permanent residents. Little wonder that the government doesn’t have the personnel to carry out fundamental protections. In fiscal year 2014, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement processed a staggering seven million immigration-related documents.
Since the administration had promoted DACA as an avenue to help deserving young, high school graduate illegal immigrants who allegedly were ready and eager to contribute to American society, ICE’s sweep calls into question the program’s integrity.
The arrests underline the inherent dangers in pushing an agenda-driven, White House policy more intent on creating ways for illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. than in enforcing immigration law and protecting American citizens.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]