In their rush to rescue Barack Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program, lawmakers are floating five bills that would grant green cards and citizenship to more than 1 million illegal immigrants. Aside from a few cosmetic enforcement provisions in a few of the bills, none of the proposed legislation would do anything to prevent or deter the next wave of illegal immigration.
The bipartisan measures go beyond legalizing the 787,580 young people in DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals); they open the door to as many as 3,571,000 immigrants, according to one estimate. Legal permanent residence would be awarded to:
- 1,253,000 illegal immigrants under the SUCCEED Act by Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
- 1,399,000 under the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.
- 1,399,000 under the Border Security and Deferred Action Recipient Relief Act by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. (who announced his retirement this week).
- 1,730,000 under the DREAM Act of 2017 by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
- 3,571,000 under the American Hope Act by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
The pro-immigration Migration Policy Institute found each bill – to varying degrees – included non-DACA “subsets” who would qualify for newly created legal status based on age of entry, years of U.S. residence, educational attainment or military service.
Add up all the subsets and DACA recipients are only a partial cohort of these newfound entitlements.
More significantly, the MPI estimates do not factor in “chain migration,” where new immigrants bring their extended family into the country. Current research indicates that each new legal immigrant sponsors an average of 3.45 family members. The ratio swells to more than 6-to-1 for Mexican migrants, the largest group in DACA.
Noting that green card holders cannot petition for extended family members, a recent Politifact tried to downplay the potential impact of chain migration, stating, “It’s unlikely that the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients have spouses and unmarried children back in their home country.”
That’s disingenuous and misleading. Once immigrants get a green card, they’re eligible to apply for citizenship, which provides the conduit for all manner of extended family.
As of last August, 59,778 DACA recipients had applied for green cards and 39,514 were approved, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The ballooning numbers and open-endedness of Congress’ latest “reforms” create backdoor amnesties and additional loopholes in an already-riddled immigration system. No one should be surprised. Unless tangible enforcement measures and changes to the legal immigration selection process are included in the legislative package, the best thing lawmakers can do with DACA is to let it expire, once and for all.