Senator Cruz Introduces Bill to Repeal DACA

Ted CruzLast week, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, whose home state of Texas is at the center of the border crisis, introduced legislation that would stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

DACA is the Obama Administration’s program, created through a policy memo, that grants deferred action to illegal aliens who claim they arrived in the U.S. as minors. In general, to qualify for DACA an illegal alien must claim to have been 30 years old or younger when the program was initiated and have arrived in the U.S. before turning sixteen years old. Under the program, a granting deferred action means that the government has deferred any removal of the alien, in two-year renewable increments, and provides the alien work authorization.

When President Obama announced the creation of DACA, many Members of Congress decried the move as an unconstitutional circumvention of Congress and an unbridled attempt to use executive authority for political gain. Congress had rejected the DREAM Act at least three times, most recently in 2010. Moreover, they pointed out that there is absolutely no statutory basis for deferred action status; it is merely referred to in the federal regulations. Even more troubling, deferred action is not subject to judicial review.

Now, two years after its creation and with illegal alien minors flooding the U.S. border, Senator Cruz is attempting to put an end to DACA. His straightforward, two-page bill provides that no “agency or instrumentality” of the federal government may use government money or resources to:

  1. Consider, adjudicate any new or previously denied DACA application; or
  2. Authorize any alien to work in the U.S. if such alien was not lawfully admitted into the U.S. under federal law and is not “in lawful status” in the United States on the day of enactment.

The last provision, regarding lawful status, seeks to target a specific distinction the Obama Administration and immigration attorneys have made regarding terminology. That is, in the June 15, 2012 memo that created DACA, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s clearly stated that granting deferred action conferred no “immigration status” on an illegal alien and that only Congress could confer such lawful status.  However, the administration also declared (by executive fiat) that the presence of DACA aliens in the U.S. “is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security,” and, for admissibility purposes, DACA beneficiaries (although still illegal aliens) are considered to be “lawfully present” in the U.S. This decree that DACA aliens are lawfully present prevents certain bars to admission from applying to these illegal aliens, should they apply for admission to the U.S. at a future date. (See, e.g., INA(a)(9)B))

In a statement upon introducing his bill, Senator Cruz made it clear that President Obama’s immigration policies, including DACA, were the cause of our current border crisis:

“Since his unilateral action in 2012 to implement DACA, the numbers of children arriving in the U.S. illegally — transported by dangerous criminals and drug cartels eager to exploit President Obama’s amnesty — predictably exploded…”

He also offered the following facts:

  • In 2011, approximately 6,000 unaccompanied minors came to the United States.
  • In 2012, when President Obama issued DACA, the number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the United States rose to 14,000.
  • In 2013, the number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the United States rose to 34,000.
  • In 2014, Customs and Border Protection estimate 90,000 unaccompanied minors may be apprehended.
  • In 2015, the Obama Administration has stated it expects 145,000 unaccompanied minors to enter the United States.

Cruz concluded that the only way to stop the current border crisis is to stop DACA:

If we do not put an end to its expansion — to the promise of amnesty that is the reason so many are coming — then more little boys and girls will be trafficked, abused, and even killed. We have an obligation to make sure that not one more child is hurt by this president’s lawlessness.

Not surprisingly, reaction from Senate Democrats was swift. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blasted Senator Cruz for attempting to end DACA. Reid accused Cruz of trying to deport children who are “legitimately” in the country:

Before Republicans help our Border Patrol agents and all the personnel that’s trying to do something to handle this humanitarian crisis, they want President Obama to deport the DREAMers who are already here, legitimately here.

Cruz’s bill was one of several introduced by Senators and Representatives this week. However, both on the Senate side and House side, leaders gave little indication of which route they plan to take. Debate over these bills, and the President’s $3.7 billion funding request (which lacked any policy changes), is expected to take center stage next week when Congress returns to Washington.

This article originally appeared in FAIR’s Legislative Update on July 22, 2014.

Argument that Violence Driving Surge in Illegal Immigration Unconvincing

According to internal memos and news reports, the main driver of illegal immigration continues to be economic motivations.  The recent surge in illegal immigration, including the increase in illegal alien minors, by the admissions of the aliens themselves, is the result of Obama Administration policies, and the continuing promises of amnesty from leaders of both parties in Congress, which has been noted by media outlets in Central America.

Increased violence, notably a rise in homicides in the sending countries, has been touted as the cause of the unprecedented influx of illegal aliens across the U.S. southern border.  However, data from the United Nations shows that homicide rates in El Salvador and Guatemala are at a much lower level than in past years, and the homicide rate in Honduras is beginning to abate after a sharp rise that took place between 2006 and 2011. If murderous violence were the primary motivating factor spurring illegal immigration from these countries, the influx would have occurred much earlier. In contrast, Mexico, which has seen a sharp rise in its homicide rate in recent years, has sent many fewer illegal immigrants into the U.S. since 2009.

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Aprehensions of Unaccompanied Alien Minors in U.S.

The United Nations data do not go beyond 2012, but there are no indications that that the conditions in Central American have changed to such an extent to account for the massive surge in illegal border crossers. In fact, a brief prepared by the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), created by the federal government to focus on U.S.-Mexico border issues, found that “violence is not likely the principal factor driving the increase in UAC migration.” Relying on information from the U.S. Border Patrol, EPIC stated that:

Of the 230 total migrants interviewed, 219 [95%] cited the primary reason for migrating to
the United States was the perception of U.S. immigration laws granting free passes or permisosa
to UAC and adult female OTMs [Other Than Mexican] traveling with minors.

EPIC also found that:

…a large number of migrants interviewed claimed family members in the United States encouraged
their travel because the U.S. government would cease issuing permisos after June 2014. Migrants
cited Univision, Primer Impacto, Al Rojo Vivo and several Honduran television news outlets for
helping shape their perception of U.S. immigration policy.

Honduras, which by far has the highest murder rate among Central American countries, as well as the highest in the world, has seen its murder rate decrease prior to the surge of illegal aliens from that country into the United States. Official statistics from the Honduran government, which records homicides up until June 2014, reveal that the murder rate in Honduras has dropped, yet apprehensions recorded by the U.S. Border Patrol of illegal alien minors from Honduras have greatly increased.

Data from July 2014 to Dec 2014 projected based on Jan 2014 to Jun 2014 statistics.

As FAIR pointed out last week, most of the information about the illegal aliens comes from the aliens themselves. What we do know is that many who are coming are not children, are not unaccompanied, are not trafficked, and are not coming because they are fleeing a sudden increase in violence in their home countries.*

* In testimony to the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee,  none of the three witnesses who claimed that violence was driving the surge in illegal immigration could point to a single precipitating violent event in Central America that could explain the sudden spike in number of illegal aliens from that region.

New Op-ed: Open-borders Advocates Shamelessly Exploit the Surge of Minors

FAIR Op-ed from Dan SteinIn an op-ed published in The Hill, I address the role of the mass immigration and amnesty lobby in creating the current crisis at the border. The op-ed notes that laws, drafted with inordinate input from immigration lawyers and immigrant advocacy groups, have created judicial gridlock that works in favor of illegal aliens attempting to remain in the United States.

The complete op-ed can be found on The Hill’s website.

FEMA’s Requirements for Unaccompanied Minor Shelters

FEMA’s Requirements for Unaccompanied Minor SheltersAs local news reports trickle out regarding potential locations for unaccompanied alien minor shelters, the only criteria seem to be large buildings – even one that wasn’t available.

The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly looked vacant schools in Houston, an empty Walmart store in Brockport, New York, old jails in Pennsylvania and Texas, a government warehouse in Baltimore, former convents, monasteries, and boarding schools and at least two different college campuses in Virginia.

Recently, FAIR obtained a copy of an email from NETWORK, a pro-amnesty Catholic organization, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking for suggestions for potential shelter locations. The email was sent to other immigration & refugee organizations that are actively supporting “comprehensive” immigration reform.

What types of facilities are being considered? The range of buildings included on FEMA’s list help to explain why the proposed locations seem so varied.

Like any other real estate hunt, location is the most important factor. The list of requirements that accompanies the email stipulates that facilities must be within 50 miles of a major city (meaning it must have a population of 200,000 or more) and be in close proximity of an airport.

Large spaces are also key, as shelters require 80 square feet per resident. Only structures with 90,000 or more square feet of open space qualify.

See the emails below about FEMA’s solicitation for help finding potential UAC Shelters.

Email from NETWORK: 

FEMA Email 1

 

Email from FEMA: 

FEMA-Email-UAC Shelters

FEMA’s List of Requirements for UAC Shelters

If you want to keep an eye on this process, you can see what buildings the federal government has leased near you. The General Services Administration (GSA) maintains a website listing buildings owned and leased by the federal government in every congressional district in the country.

This Date in Obama’s Administrative Amnesty: July 14, 2010

This Date in Obama's Administrative AmnestyOn July 14, 2010, a week after suing the state of Arizona over S.B. 1070 for “interfering” with the enforcement of federal immigration law, the Obama Administration said it would not sue sanctuary cities that defiantly refuse to cooperate with enforcing federal immigration law. Cities with sanctuary policies impede the ability of federal authorities to enforce immigration law, such as by barring local police from asking suspects about their immigration status, even though the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 expressly prohibits state and local governments from doing so.

A Justice Department spokeswoman attempted to explain the distinction by saying “[t]here is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) pointed out the real reason why the Administration sued Arizona to stop “a patchwork” of immigration laws, but has been perfectly content to ignore a “patchwork of sanctuary-city laws.” He explained: the “only immigration policy that the Obama Administration favors is one that allows illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.”

In subsequent years, Rep. Smith’s statement proved prescient as the Administration continued to sue those states that passed laws meant to discourage illegal immigration, and ignore those that flouted the enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. Unfortunately, individual citizens themselves are generally not able to establish the standing to sue their local officials for violations of federal law such as those involved in sanctuary policies. Therefore, the Administration’s refusal to sue states and localities for their illegal sanctuary policies has meant that they have been able to ignore the law with impunity.