The Obama Administration’s plan to grant deferred action status and work authorization to illegal aliens meeting criteria similar to the DREAM Act could cost over $585 million, internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents reveal. (Arizona Central, July 24, 2012)
The documents, leaked to the Associated Press last week, provide the first look at the Administration’s cost projections for the amnesty program announced June 15. They include estimates that the federal government will need to hire over 1,400 new employees and contractors to process the more than one million anticipated applications. (Id.) In fact, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — the agency that the Inspector General discovered earlier this year was pressuring its employees into rubber-stamping immigration benefits applications despite questions of fraud or ineligibility — estimates the amnesty will result in it processing more than 3,000 applications daily. (Id.; see also FAIR Legislative Update, Jan. 9, 2012 and OIG Report 12-24)
The documents also undermine the Administration’s claims that the amnesty will be fee-driven and not cost U.S. taxpayers. While the internal documents show DHS is considering charging illegal aliens $465 per application, the documents also state that depending on how many applicants are granted a waiver or otherwise do not pay, the government could lose between $19 million and $121 million. (Arizona Central, July 24, 2012) Secretary Napolitano told Congress last week that DHS would release its plans for implementing the application process August 1 and that it would begin accepting applications August 15. (See Bloomberg Government Transcript, July 19, 2012; see also FAIR Legislative Update, July 23) The Department was scheduled to hold its second stakeholder conference call on the recently announced deferred action program July 26 (already rescheduled from July 9), but cancelled the call just hours before it was to occur.