The New Immigration Policy

It was named by politicians in committee, so the name is “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” It is our President’s proposal to begin resolving those who were brought into the USA by someone else.

Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military, can get a two-year deferral from deportation and apply for work permits.

Participants must prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years.

1. “Deferred action” gives off the impression that the undocumented, who have entered into the country without official permission, will eventually be part of some legal action. And that means possible deportation. This policy is no promise of citizenship. I have a hard time thinking many will step forward when they know the action is not certain and permanent.

[I am perhaps wrong; here is a report from today in the Chicago Tribune indicating a large turnout.]

2. It costs $465 to apply. “The $465 application fee will fund the administrative costs of the program, including a biometric check and issuance of a secure work-authorization document, he said.” Again, this fee will be used to fund the program, which is a very good idea, but the undocumented are not rolling in funds.

3. The singular element, so it seems to me, is that the undocumented declares publicly — giving their name and address and contact information — to the Federal government that they are undocumented, making them much more vulnerable to deportation. Furthermore, this public declaration of undocumented status indirectly points a finger at parents and other family members as well.

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  • T

    Well, my thoughts on this were clear in our last discussion. The fact that this kind of order was even necessary shows how badly things like this are needed. Yes, we were previously treating these folks just like every other illegal immigrant. Some of the folks that came here really young don’t even speak any language but American English.

    Here, here.

  • scotmcknight

    I’m wondering if there are any numbers yet on how many have showed up/filled out the application?

  • T


    Good question. There will likely be a lag on that information, but it will be available, I’m sure.

  • Like you said, Scot, I’m wondering who is going to step forward. And I agree with T (#1) that the fact that we have this prove how bad things have gotten for so long. I don’t know that there is a perfect solution for those who are already here. To give them amnesty is to go against the law, but to arbitrarily kicking them out shows no compassion and is inhumane.

  • Mike H

    I obviously wouldn’t have the numbers, but CNN did have an article with illegal/undocumented immigrants excited for the process I think you do have some valid concerns, but I think it is a step in the right direction.

    I’m not envious of the decision makers regarding Illegal Immigration and Immigration Reform. The whole issue is messy regardless of the perspective you hold.

  • Mike H

    Rob #4. If you take the compassion and humane arguments out of the debate, deportation is costly too (especially if it is done on a mass scale). So even from a purely economic standpoint, it’s not the easiest decision.

  • Mike H

    To follow up on my comment at #5, the cnn article did say that many have sought legal advice prior to this becoming law. The article doesn’t describe it, but the individuals are going through with it after receiving some counsel. There might be a legal safety net for those coming forward that may get denied (pure conjecture on my part, sorry if that info is out there one way or another).

  • The vast majority of undocumented young people I know will be eager to apply. In fact, NBC is estimating that as many as 50,000 showed up for a workshop to get help filling the application just today ( Young people are desperate for work authorization to be able to survive and, in many cases, pay their way through college. The program is imperfect, to be sure, but it’s the best that the Executive Branch can do with an uncooperative Congress.

  • DRT

    I wouldn’t trust the government with that info if I were an illegal alien. And I bet they are more cynical than me.

  • saladyears

    I would expect many to wait until after the election. With the “build a fence and start shooting” mentality that many on the right espouse (see: Joe the Plumber), it makes no sense to put your name on this list if that kind of ideology is going to make headway in the elections.

    If Obama wins, though, I could see more young people giving it a chance, with the hope that they will see real immigration reform in his second term. If huge numbers signed up for it, I could see that forcing Congress’ hand.

  • F.T.

    I believe it is named “consideration” because each one will need to apply and be considered. Part of the process is to undergo background checks and to show through school records and other forms of validation that the person applying indeed fits the criteria. Also, not all who apply will be chosen.

    2nd. You have listed a fear that is common–that those who provide their names and addresses will be vulnerable but, I do not believe it is accurate. I will check around to see if I can find a better answer. I do know however, that the agency to which students appy is not the same one who does the deportations. And they do not share data.

  • F.T.

    Also it is call deferred action because in two years the legislature will need to again address the situation and act is a law making body to create systems for ways to appy for paperwork that would allow the individual to remain in the country. Currently according to the USCIS website DHS is only pursuing undocumented persons who have criminal records. Young men and women attending college and who have Good Moral Character and not a risk to this country. So even though they could be deported they are not a high priority.

    If our country were to pursue all persons without paperwork and detain them and deport them, it would cost several billion dollars.

  • F.T.

    Above is the link to the National Immigration Law Center. They respond to the questions that are referred to in your post.

  • DRT

    just saw on Rachel maddow the big lines to claim a delay in deportation.

  • The “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” is basically the Dream Act which was voted down by Congress. President Obama is unconstitutionally putting the regulations in place by executive order. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the policy, this action taken by this administration circumvents Congress and is therefore illegal. It is a political play by a president desperate to win the Hispanic vote. Basically, I agree with the provisions provided in this new regulation, BUT the executive branch is becoming too powerful by acting unilaterally (E.P.A., Justice, INS, etc.).

  • Scot McKnight

    So Glenn, are you for the new policy or against it?

  • James Neely

    This question like so many, get greatly complicated with emotions and/or special cases. No matter what the problem, in a country of ~330,000,000 there are special cases that “prove” every position you wish to take on every issue. We have to get out of the emotional response and look for principles involved.
    This country cannot accept every person in the world that wishes to come here, nor can we, nor should we, support them. We cannot raise the standard of living of all the nations to the average value unless we reduced our’s to about 25% of its current value and give the remaining 75% to the underprivileged ones. (I think that is the number a set of calculations I previously made yielded.)
    So what is a credible set of principles? The answer is not simple nor painless. However, I think we have to uphold the laws that exist at any given time; otherwise we have anarchy. All who have come to this country illegally, are criminals and to build a civilization on criminal actions is futile. While I feel sorry for the “children”, we did not put them in their current situation, their parents did. If we try to take over the righting of every penalty that accrue to children as a result of the actions of their parents, we have an impossible financial task.
    As has been noted, I guess I failed to notice when we elected a king; I thought it was a presidential election.
    There are many other things that can be said here, but this will suffice at the moment.

  • I don’t understand how someone can serve in the US military and be an undocumented resident alien. IMNSHO, I’d think military service should guarantee citizenship.

  • T

    I love how so many who have been silent about the expansion of Presidential power for decades as it has been used most notably to use military force, are now so co concerned, now that the President has given direction that extends prosecutorial mercy to some young people caught in a horrible situation. If presidential power is truly the concern, please do some historical research. This policy is peanuts, maybe less. Let’s talk about the substance of this policy and what is really behind resistance to it.

  • T

    James N.,

    I also what to discuss credible principles. I wish you could have the experience of being a lawyer or even a person in law enforcement and realize how many laws are or have been on the books that do not get enforced–for so many different reasons. Some of these laws don’t get enforced because they are too expensive, too intrusive, or often just bad and/or immoral to enforce. Others are enforced selectively, often at the discretion of the police and/or the prosecutors involved, and for their reasons, whatever they may be.

    No one is talking about letting everyone come to the US that wants to (well, maybe the statue of liberty, but she doesn’t count). And no one is talking about raising the standard of living for the whole world. But here’s the reality, even back in the days of ancient Israel, aliens have been routinely easy to ignore. It’s “them” not “us.” That fact alone makes their stories, their pain, their pleas for help more easily dismissed. I wish very badly that I could say that this is not what is driving my own Republican party’s base to take the stand it has, but I can’t. Is this policy going to hurt the U.S.? No. On the contrary, it is going to keep people here who are doing well and stand to be quite productive, if not already.

    If you would prefer, please tell me why people should vote against this kind of policy, since it will no doubt come up again.

  • ft