Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration – illegal or otherwise – the American people have a right to be concerned. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
Let’s Talk DACA
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy has been the subject of many arguments and has recently been a hot topic in the Supreme Court. Supporters argue that the “DREAMERS” are not responsible for how they came to the country and have been instrumental in boosting the country’s economy and growth. Those opposed argue that President Barack Obama used his power to usurp Congress’ 11-year objection to the program and that they should become legalized citizens to remain in the United States. Concerns have been raised about the number of crimes committed by undocumented children of immigrants as well.
A recent report from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may help shed light on the costs of allowing non-citizens to remain in our country:
- “Nearly 110,000 DACA requestors out of nearly 889,000 (12%) had arrest records. Offenses in these arrest records include assault, battery, rape, murder and driving under the influence.
- “Of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, 85% (67,861) of them were arrested or apprehended before their most recent DACA approval.
- “Of approved DACA requestors with an arrest, more than 31% (24,898) of them had more than one arrest.
- “Of all DACA requestors, 218 had more than 10 arrests. Of those, 54 had a DACA case status of ‘approved’ as of October 2019.”
Minor offenses such as jaywalking or forgetting to fasten a seatbelt are not considered serious enough to prevent a person from receiving temporary deferral of removal action. However, as the data above demonstrate, more than 100,000 arrestees had on their records more severe crimes such as rape and murder. Even more unnerving, 54 requestors had more than ten arrests, yet were still able to get approved for the program. Even if the arrests were made for minor infractions, that’s still an incredibly high number. Let’s face it, people do not get handcuffed and put in the back of a police vehicle because they crossed a street in the middle of the block, unless there are other violations involved.
According to USCIS, under the current DACA guidelines, “illegal aliens may be considered for DACA if they have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more ‘non-significant’ misdemeanors not arising out of the same act, omission or scheme of misconduct, and they do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
Currently, the Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether the Trump administration has the legal authority to end the DACA program. The program was originally known as the DREAM Act, and Obama could not get Congress to approve the policy. To give the former president credit, he pushed a reluctant House and Senate for a long time, before taking it upon himself to authorize it. Afterward, more than 25 states with Republican governors sued the administration.
Obama kept on revising the legislation, and it kept getting shot down. In 2012, he changed the wording to deferred action, altered a few phrases here and there, and DACA was born. The new program has allowed nearly 700,000 individuals who do not have legal status but have been in the United States since childhood to remain.
USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said the agency’s policy is to remain transparent:
“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA. This agency is obligated to continue accepting DACA requests from illegal aliens as a direct result of the previous administration’s decision to circumvent the laws as passed by Congress. We hope this data provides a better sense of the reality of those granted the privilege of a temporary deferral of removal action and work authorization under DACA.”
While not all DREAMERS are criminals, looking for ways to break laws and remain in our country, they still should not be granted carte blanche because their parents snuck them onto U.S. soil. Through no fault of their own, they are considered illegal aliens; however, as they turn of legal age, they have a duty, responsibility, and obligation to take the steps to become legal and productive members of American society.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.