By Joe Guzzardi
October 29, 2012
On June 15, President Obama announced that hundreds of thousands of teens and young adults age 16-31 purportedly brought to the United States illegally as infants would qualify for a new program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA]. According to the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], the illegal immigrants have since led exemplary lives and want to become productive taxpaying adults. The aliens claim that they are “Americans in every way” and deserve to remain. Obama heeded their wishes and granted them work authorization.
To be eligible, an illegal immigrant must have lived in the United States for the past five years, be attending high school or have an honorable military discharge. They must not be convicted felons or guilty of more than two misdemeanor crimes. Ironically, however, if an alien used a false or stolen social security number before June 15, his criminal action won’t disqualify him. The administration’s liberal guidelines reward aliens with not only work authorization but also two year protection against deportation.
A major conflict is that about 20 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. Sooner or later, they will directly compete in the job market with an applicant who until a few weeks ago could not, because of his alien immigration status, work legally.
Capitol Hill think tanks that analyze immigration estimate that eventually 1.8 million DACAs could be successfully processed. Last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced to a panel of Hispanic educators that Obama’s program is off to a smooth start; to date, 200,000 illegal immigrants have petitioned to have their deportations stayed and more than 3,000 new applications arrive each day. Napolitano, acting unilaterally, has repeatedly insisted that DHS’s focus will be on hardened criminal aliens and that her department doesn’t have the resources to pursue and prosecute innocent young aliens.
Many Congressional critics think that the administration has not been forthcoming. Since none of the DACA candidates are required to show up for an interview in person, grave concerns about the process have been expressed to the White House but without the benefit of a reply. One major worry: an official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services report released September 28 revealed that DHS has requested only seven requests for evidence in support of aliens’ claims.
Obama’s 2011 and 2012 prosecutorial discretion programs show a pattern that could lead, if he’s re-elected, to a 2013 amnesty that would include permanent residency and eventual citizenship. In a recent interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board, Obama confided that amnesty would be a high priority during his second term. The White House later released Obama’s statement to the media for distribution.
For more than a decade, Americans have vigorously resisted amnesty every time it’s been introduced. More than any other legislation, amnesty is a non-starter for grassroots Americans. The Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed in 1986 under the Reagan administration, should serve as a cautionary note to amnesty advocates. IRCA was fraud-ridden and amnestied more than three times the estimated numbers of aliens and has played a major role in creating a fragmented America.
Years after he left office, President Regan confessed that the IRCA was “the worst mistake of my presidency.” Despite Regan’s candid admission of his amnesty failure, Obama appears determined to press on despite the American people’s wishes.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected].