A September opinion column by Edgar Allen Beem strongly advocated for granting citizenship to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, referred to in the article as “Dreamers” (“Dreamers are Americans,” Sept. 15, 2017).
While we understand they were brought here, some as children – some as teenagers – granting them citizenship, as suggested, or even continued legal presence with subsequent recommendations for amnesty, is ill-considered, and would be an unacceptable endorsement of former President Obama’s unconstitutional and illegal granting of deferred deportation.
What makes it doubly troubling is to ignore the urgent need to fix the problems of our out-of-control immigration system: our borders leak like a sieve; hundreds of thousands of aliens overstay nonimmigrant (temporary) visas annually; fraud and abuse is rampant up and down the list of non-immigrant (temporary) visas; processing of overseas applications is backed up.
On this last issue – overseas applications – Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies reported in 2015 there were 4.4 million on waiting lists for green cards, and the waiting time is from 19 months to 33 years in the family and employee application categories (“Waiting List for Legal Immigrant Visas Keeps Growing,” Center for Immigration Studies, April 16, 2015).
As to granting amnesties, Matthew J. O’Brien, a former USCIS employee says: “USCIS has bungled everything from the implementation of online applications to vetting DACA applicants. There is every reason to believe that it lacks the personnel and infrastructure to properly administer any future amnesties.” (“Backlog of citizenship applications raises questions about handling of mass amnesty,” Washington Times, Oct. 12, 2017).
Why should DACA recipients receive “red carpet” treatment while there are millions waiting overseas who have undergone a much more thorough screening process? Why should they get pushed to the back of the line?
Besides, DACA recipients are hardly the model “citizens” depicted in the article. The Washington Free Beacon reported on Oct. 13, 2017, of two DACA recipients arrested by the Border Patrol for attempting to smuggle illegal aliens into the country. Additionally, a Sept. 5, 2017, Breitbart News report referenced a list they had of 50 of 2,138 DACA recipients who “have had their temporary protected status revoked due to crimes.”
It should be remembered they are now in the 20s and 30s and, as most illegal immigrants are working this means, prior to receiving deferred status, they had obtained jobs either by using false Social Security numbers, or working “under the table,” both felonies. These are hardly the “law-abiding people who are de facto Americans” asserted in the article.
What we should be focusing on is a positive effort to rationalize our immigration as contained in a major piece of legislation called the RAISE ACT, or Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (S. 1720), filed by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, and endorsed by President Trump.
This legislation would eliminate the Diversity Visa Program; put limits on the number of refugees admitted each year; reduce the number of family-sponsored immigrants, and create a points system for issuing green cards to overseas applicants.
This latter, the points system, is used by other countries, including Canada, and assigns points according to level of education; age of the applicant; English language proficiency, and the salary offer the applicant has received.
A nation’s immigration policy should serve the needs of the nation, and this is what the point system does. The refugee system is still in place, plus the family sponsored category at a reduced level, and the focus is where it should be, on the needs of the nation, which is what the RAISE Act does.
Bob Casimiro is a Bridgton resident and is executive director of Mainers for Responsible Immigration.