According to a former immigration official, the Obama administration never acted to prevent widespread DACA abuse.
Matt O’Brien, the former manager of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) investigation unit, recently told reporters that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is rife with fraud. As reported by Breitbart, O’Brien stated, “Based on what I had seen and what I discussed with my colleagues, the fraud rate is 40 to 50 percent. It’s possible that it was higher.”
DACA was originally introduced by former President Obama in 2012 through a Department of Homeland Security memorandum. The order has been widely considered unconstitutional, and at least ten secretaries of state planned to challenge the immigration policy in court.
Instead, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday that the DACA program would come to a close after a six-month delay. By providing a six-month window, President Trump is offering Congress the chance to take responsibility and act legally.
Under DACA, illegal immigrants who entered America as children before June 15, 2007 were granted special protections from immigration authorities, given Social Security numbers, and allowed to have a two-year work permit. DACA applicants were required to be under the age of 31 when the immigration reform was pushed through. Additionally, applicants were required to either be enrolled in school or have already successfully obtained a high school diploma or equivalent.
Former President Obama recently came out in defense of his unlawful order and challenged President Trump for shifting the responsibility of this act to Congress. “This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated,” he said, according to MSNBC.
Since its inception, Democrats have insinuated that the average DACA recipient is a young overachiever struggling to make it in America. The reality, however, paints a very different picture.
Most DACA recipients are not children. In fact, those eligible for DACA protections must be over the age of 16.
Additionally, according to former immigration investigator O’Brien, a large majority of fraudulent applications misrepresented the age of the recipients – suggesting that many DACA recipients are above the current cut-off age of 31.
O’Brien explained that some DACA applicants had multiple adult children, making it almost impossible for the recipient to be under the cut-off age when they applied. Additionally, numerous applicants submitted forged documents listing schools that didn’t exist or dates that did not correspond with reality.
Despite these clear-cut cases of fraud, O’Brien said that management put pressure on employees not to investigate. “I would say 98 percent of the time they [management] defaulted to approving them,” he explained, adding, “There was so much management pressure to get these things approved.”
O’Brien said many applications were approved before ever proving the applicants were who they said they were, with or without proper identification.
“The whole way the program is set up, it just facilitated fraud, and I’m not entirely confident that wasn’t intentional,” O’Brien explained, pointing a finger at the Obama administration.
With the rampant fraud inherent in the program and the potential for increased risk of criminal activity, it seems to be a wise move on President Trump’s part to rescind DACA.