The following story appeared in FAIR’s August 7 Legislative Update. To subscribe to FAIR’s Legislative Update click here.

On August 3rd, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued additional guidance for its deferred action and work authorization application process for illegal aliens seeking reprieve under the Obama Administration’s June 15 amnesty memorandum. (FAIR Legislative Update, June 19, 2012)

However, the information released by the Administration, the stated intent of which was to provide additional information regarding the affirmative deferred action application process it created, provided little insight. (See DHS Press Release, Aug. 3, 2012) For example, while the guidance confirms previous reports stating that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — the agency tasked with administrating the application process — will charge illegal aliens a $465 application fee, it neglects to provide a breakdown of the application charges. (See USCIS Website, Aug. 3, 2012) In fact, leading one to question the accuracy of the estimate, the guidance states that USCIS is still developing the application forms and has not yet submitted them to the Office of Management and Budget for review. (Id.)

Rather, instead of providing key details of the application process, the guidance reveals the Administration’s intent to ignore the broad criteria it sets forth, referring to such as mere “factors” for consideration. For instance, the guidance attempts to clarify which crimes that, if convicted of, (such as those the Administration defines as “significant misdemeanors”) will disqualify an alien from receiving deferred action.  (Id.) However, after defining such, the guidance immediately goes on to provide that the Administration may grant deferred action to illegal aliens in spite of them possessing such convictions. The guidance states: “[T]he absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion.” (Id.)

Conspicuously absent from the Administration’s guidance is any direction as to specific forms of documentation an illegal alien must show to receive deferred action and work authorization. The guidance merely reiterates the June 15 memorandum’s overly broad and vague guidance as to which types of records — such as medical, financial, or educational forms — may be accepted to demonstrate the illegal alien meets the amnesty criteria. (Id.) As such, the guidance is silent as to which kinds of medical, financial, or educational forms (i.e. medical bills vs. charts, bank statements, school transcript or attendance records) must be submitted, or whether such must be independently certified or authenticated to protect against fraudulent claims.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, commented on the application process’ susceptibility for fraud. “The lack of specific standards for employees processing the applications is an open invitation to fraud, especially because the Administration is allowing illegal immigrants to submit third party affidavits as proof of at least one of the DREAM Act requirements,” Rep. Smith charged in a press release. (Rep. Smith Press Release, Aug. 3, 2012)

USCIS begins accepting applications August 15. Stay tuned to FAIR as details emerge…