Former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program appears to have inadvertently provided a way for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship.
According to The Washington Times, thousands of individuals have gotten on a pathway to citizenship through DACA. This information was revealed by Republican lawmakers on Friday. They referred to government data that was previously withheld by the Obama administration.
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have reported that 45,000 DACA recipients were approved for “advance parole,” which means they were permitted to leave the U.S. and then return, despite the fact that they did not have permanent legal status.
However, a loophole in the law gave these individuals the ability to adjust their status upon returning — allowing them to gain legal residence. By doing this, the DACA recipients were able to obtain American citizenship if they had a qualifying relationship.
Congress repeatedly requested information on this loophole, but the Obama White House refused to comply. Luckily, the Trump administration was willing to provide Congress with the data.
Immigration activists are well aware of this loophole — and they have exploited it. They encouraged public colleges in California to use it to assist Dreamers in gaining legal status. An example of this would be the California-Mexico Studies Center. They charge a large sum of money to help Dreamers travel across the border so that they can qualify for advance parole. The organization also provides “legal advice and filing assistance” for Dreamers.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was introduced by President Obama through an executive order in 2012. It was a controversial — and arguably unconstitutional — move that was opposed by Republicans and some Democrats. Under the program, immigrants who entered the country illegally as minors are protected from deportation for a two-year period which can be renewed.
The program was not designed to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers — it only keeps them from being targeted by the authorities for deportation.
An individual could use the program as long as they were in school, had already graduated high school, or were honorably discharged from the military. Additionally, they cannot have a criminal record. That, at least, seems like a good place to start.
During the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump vowed to get rid of the program. He criticized it as being unconstitutional. This was one of main criticisms levied by the GOP. The president is not allowed to create law through executive order. It is the job of Congress to pass legislation that addresses the children of illegal immigrants.
After taking office, the president appeared to walk back his previous promise to end the program. He is receiving pressure from GOP lawmakers and the leaders of ten states. However, there are also Republicans in Congress who don’t want the program removed.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan argued that the president should not end the program. Instead, he should allow Congress to deal with the issue. Trump is expected to announce his decision regarding the program on Tuesday, September 5.