June 21, 2012
No sooner had President Obama issued his edict to remove aliens age 16 to 31 from possible deportation than open borders advocates along with newly forgiven DREAMers held a White House meeting. Their goal: how to assure that the program includes the maximum number of aliens.
Highly placed officials from the Justice, Commerce and Labor departments including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, attended. With the instant access the Hispanic lobby has to the administration’s inner sanctum, setting up a conference with top government brass was a snap.
But, to its disappointment, the group learned that the devil resides in the details. Because of the massive administrative task required for the so called deferred action process, USCIS issued a memorandum advising aliens to withhold inquiries for at least 60 days.
Despite the hoopla surrounding Obama’s decree, the bureaucrats have not yet even established what type of form to use or what fee, if any, should be charged. Once CIS irons out the small stuff, the real work will begin. Whether you accept the White House’s estimate that 800,000 aliens will be pardoned or the Pew Hispanic Center’s 1.4 million figure or Californians for Population’s more probable 2.1 million total, the due diligence required will be a time and resource-consuming nightmare that to do properly would take many months.
The subjects’ personal information dates back years and requires a document search of foreign records. There are a ton of other obstacles, too. Did the alien really enter the United States at a young age with his parents and without his personal knowledge or did he cross the border last week? Does “being a student” mean full time enrollment at an accredited institution or an occasional appearance at the local evening adult school? Will a rejected alien be deported or released? What about DUI’s which Morton promised would result in automatic disqualification? With many immigrants using multiple versions of their last name, finding out who’s really who will be challenging.
No one knows the answers. Immigration lawyers, for whom prosecutorial discretion is a gold mine, are working hard to assure that ICE adopts the most liberal guidelines.
In the end, there will be loopholes large enough for the proverbial elephant to walk through. ICE will deny only a handful—and most of those reluctantly.
When it comes to loopholes, I have experience. In 1986 during President Ronald Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act amnesty, one requirement was that aliens learn conversational English. At the time, I was a California English as a second language instructor responsible for approving federal documents which confirmed that my adult students had achieved a basic level of mastery.
But when many couldn’t form a grammatically correct sentence, I didn’t sign. They complained. Eventually, I got a phone call from INS demanding that I sign regardless. So much for politicians often made promise that immigrants “will learn English.”
Here’s the silver lining. The 60 days CIS predicts will be required to start the program is 1) optimistic and 2) a political eternity wherein more light will be shined on prosecutorial discretion. Time will also create a more enlightened and angered citizenry.
During the next two months, it will become increasing clear that United States has no certain knowledge of who many illegal aliens are except that, suddenly, they’re authorized to work in an economy where 20 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.
When that information bubbles to the surface, Obama may rue the day he opted for alien amnesty over congressional due process.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. His columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.