In a July 3rd letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) demanded to know how the agency plans to implement its new administrative amnesty program. This program was announced in a June 15, 2012 policy memo authored by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, which offered “deferred action” and work authorization to most illegal aliens up to the age of 30. (See Rep. Smith Press Release, July 3, 2012)
In the letter, Chairman Smith severely criticizes the agency for its lack of foresight and failure to plan. Charging that, “little if any thought was put toward actual implementation of the policy,” Smith cites a June 18 conference call with DHS officials in which not a single one could respond to questions about how the Administration would implement the amnesty. (Read the letter here)
Rep. Smith further pointed out that during that call, neither ICE Director Morton, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Alejandro Mayorkas, nor Customs and Border Protection Commissioner David Aguilar — the officials facilitating the meeting — could respond to basic questions regarding the new policy such as:
- When must have an illegal alien entered the country to qualify?
- What is a significant misdemeanor for purposes of qualifying?
- Do part-time students qualify for the amnesty?
- Will DHS charge an application fee?
To the contrary, at the outset of the call, Director Mayorkas stated that they were “not in the position to answer many questions about the process.” (Id.)
Demanding answers to the above questions and dozens of others, Chairman Smith chastised the Administration for announcing the policy without first developing an implementation plan. “Such a lack of forethought about processing and implementation prior to announcement of the policy is a dereliction of the duty the President vowed to uphold,” said Smith.
Further illustrating the Administration’s lack of transparency and the policy’s susceptibility for fraud, the Chairman also stated that his committee had obtained internal documents suggesting the Administration was already granting amnesty to illegal aliens, despite telling the public it would take at least 60-days to develop a plan. According to Chairman Smith, “The documents demonstrate that illegal immigrants have already benefited from the new policy, even though there are no standards in place. Without any standards in place, the President’s new amnesty is an open invitation to fraud.”
The Department of Homeland Security had scheduled an additional conference call on the new policy to take place today, but cancelled it Friday morning. Stay tuned to FAIR as details of the Administration’s amnesty policy unfolds…