Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began accepting applications for deferred action through US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). FAIR has been closely tracking developments in President Obama’s executive amnesty since its announcement on June 15. Below are some of the things you need to know about the President’s unilateral changes to U.S. immigration policy.

  1. President Obama’s amnesty will add nearly 2 million workers – possibly more – to the U.S. job market. This is a negligent economic and social policy with over 8% unemployment and half of recent young college graduates unemployed or underemployed.
  2. Lax documentation requirements to prove eligibility. DHS application instructions explicitly state that only copies of documents will be required to meet the eligibility criteria for amnesty including length of presence in the U.S., education, and even identity. Also, illegal aliens will be able to submit any and all documents they deem relevant to prove their eligibility. Virtually any form of documentation will be accepted, from report cards and plane tickets to mere personal correspondence.
  3. The Administration is making this up as they go along. In June, President Obama touted this policy as the “right thing to do” for some of the best and brightest. However, it is clear that the educational, residency and character requirements are becoming increasingly lax as more details about the implementation of the amnesty emerge.
  4. No face-to-face interview required. Most applications will be approved based only on the documentation submitted.
  5. Few safeguards against and limited consequences for filing fraudulent applications or documents. If DHS is actually diligent enough to identify fraud, the new amnesty instructions merely state that the Administration “may” elect to penalize illegal aliens by denying immigration benefits or placing them into removal proceedings. However, since illegal aliens are only required to submit copies – which lack identifiers of authenticity – it is unknown how USCIS employees will be able to identify fraud in the first place.
  6. USCIS turns blind eye to past illegal employment. Illegal aliens may use employment records to show eligibility for amnesty despite the fact illegal aliens are barred from working in the U.S. Past employers of illegal alien applicants are not likely to face prosecution for hiring illegal aliens.
  7. Family of deferred action recipients will also reap the benefits. Application instructions explicitly state that information collected on an illegal alien will not be used against him or her, or their “family members and guardians,” for the purpose of immigration enforcement.
  8. Illegal aliens granted work authorization can obtain Social Security cards. Illegal aliens granted deferred action must apply for employment authorization if they present an “economic necessity.” Once received, DHS work authorization will allow them to apply for a Social Security Number and possibly other benefits like driver’s licenses.
  9. Illegal aliens with a criminal history DO qualify. DHS says only felony and “serious misdemeanor” convictions will make illegal aliens ineligible for amnesty, and even then, convictions won’t necessarily be considered if they are expunged. Additionally, criminal convictions in foreign countries will go undetected and DHS will “exercise discretion” when considering juvenile records.
  10. USCIS doesn’t have a great track record. Earlier this year, the DHS Inspector General found that USCIS leadership told employees to rubber-stamp applications for immigration benefits – including work authorization. In leaked documents to the Associated Press, USCIS estimated that it will review 3,000 deferred action and work authorization applications daily, only increasing the pressure to overlook possible fraud and approve benefits quickly.