President Obama’s modified DREAM Act program, which will allow some illegal immigrants under the age of 31 who arrived in the US before they were 16 to avoid deportation, is set to begin on August 15.
An estimated 800,000 young undocumented residents could qualify for the program that would grant deportation deferrals of at least two years for those who are approved.
Two months after President Barack Obama surprised the Hispanic community with a move to suspend deportations for some young illegal immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security will begin accepting applications that also would grant them work permits.
“You cannot overstate how important this moment will be in immigrant communities and Latino neighborhoods across the country,” said Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez, who represents a Chicago district with a large Hispanic immigrant population.
Before Obama’s program has even gotten off the ground, however, several Democratic congressmen warned that lawyers and other immigration “specialists” have been trying to prey on the young illegal immigrants. Telling them they need to move quickly to apply, they are charging exorbitant fees to help with applications that most will be able to do on their own, the lawmakers said.
“We have had cases of folks coming into our office … telling us of lawyers who want to charge $750 to get an application ready,” said one House Democratic staffer with knowledge of the issue.
For years, legislation has languished in the U.S. Congress that is aimed at aiding children of undocumented parents who were illegally brought into the United States through no fault of their own. Some entered as young as infants.
Obama, whose administration has aggressively deported illegals with criminal backgrounds, announced on June 15 that he was moving unilaterally to help this group of youths – many of them Hispanic – who have become more and more vocal in calling for help.
What’s fully objectionable, of course, is that the president’s unilateral executive decision regarding “prosecutorial disgression” was done without a go-ahead from Congress. Obama seems to think that because it’s “the right thing to do,” that he can flip the bird at the law and the Constitution while he shamelessly panders to an important ethnic group.
There are many supporters of the DREAM Act on the Republican side who are incensed at the president’s power grab. Ironically, he has probably made congressional action less likely on any kind of immigration reform by this action. There are also several lawsuits being planned to block implementation of the program.
As a political move, the Obama program for young illegals is brilliant. As a matter of law and tradition, it is a disaster. And for legal immigrants — those who play by the rules and wait their turn to enter the US — it will mean delays in processing. House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith points out that getting illegal immigrants vetted will mean that legal immigrants will “face delays and large backlogs as attention is diverted to illegal immigrants,” said Smith. “American taxpayers should not be forced to bail out illegal immigrants and President Obama’s fiscally irresponsible policies.”
Up to a million of these young illegals are expected to apply for deportation deferral.