In First Year of New Program, Deportation Is Deferred for 400,000 Young Immigrants

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas peaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 10, 2013, following a meeting between President Barack Obama and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The president planned to meet with the 26-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus on their shared goal of passing an immigration overhaul bill in the House. 
National Journal
Rebecca Kaplan
See more stories about...
Rebecca Kaplan
Aug. 15, 2013, 3:09 p.m.

About 400,000 “Dream­ers” have been al­lowed to stay in the United States in the year since the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion began ac­cept­ing ap­plic­a­tions for young il­leg­al im­mig­rants to de­fer de­port­a­tion pro­ceed­ings and re­ceive work per­mits, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion and re­leased on the an­niversary of the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram.

The num­bers show that out of more than a half-mil­lion ap­plic­ants for de­ferred ac­tion, more than three-quar­ters were ac­cep­ted and just 1 per­cent denied. The ap­plic­a­tions were con­cen­trated in states that already have large im­mig­rant com­munit­ies, such as Cali­for­nia, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Flor­ida. On the East Coast, the ap­plic­a­tions were from a more di­verse set of coun­tries while in the West, Mid­w­est, and South the vast ma­jor­ity of ap­plic­ants were from Mex­ico.

“DACA has been an in­cred­ible suc­cess for our coun­try,” said Con­gres­sion­al His­pan­ic Caucus Chair­man Ruben Hino­josa, D-Texas. “To date we have giv­en 400,000 young im­mig­rants the abil­ity to con­tin­ue to con­trib­ute to this coun­try, the only coun­try that most of these out­stand­ing in­di­vidu­als have ever known.”

The fate of these young­er im­mig­rants brought to the coun­try il­leg­ally as chil­dren — the so-called Dream­ers — is less pre­cari­ous than many of the oth­er 11 mil­lion people liv­ing in the U.S. without pa­pers. Law­makers have been quick­er to agree that the Dream­ers de­serve spe­cial treat­ment, in­clud­ing an ex­ped­ited path to cit­izen­ship.

Hino­josa and oth­er sup­port­ers of im­mig­ra­tion re­form point to the DACA pro­gram, which began a year ago Thursday, as a sign of pro­gress; some see it as an in­dic­a­tion of what Pres­id­ent Obama will do for oth­er un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants if Con­gress does not act.

“The over­whelm­ing suc­cess of this pro­gram also gives me op­tim­ism that we can move bey­ond the polit­ic­al rhet­or­ic on a broad­er im­mig­ra­tion re­form bill,” Hino­josa said. “It is my great hope that when we re­turn from re­cess, Con­gress can fi­nally be­gin work on passing a broad­er im­mig­ra­tion re­form bill with an earned path­way to cit­izen­ship.”

The Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment has also poin­ted to their suc­cess­ful im­ple­ment­a­tion of the De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals pro­gram as evid­ence that it is struc­tur­ally pre­pared to deal with a ma­jor im­mig­ra­tion over­haul.

But at least one law­maker who backs com­pre­hens­ive im­mig­ra­tion re­form, Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., has poin­ted to the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­gram as a reas­on the House needs to act to ad­dress the en­tirety of the im­mig­ra­tion sys­tem. The Sen­ate passed a com­pre­hens­ive re­form pack­age in June.

“I be­lieve that this pres­id­ent will be temp­ted, if noth­ing hap­pens in Con­gress, to is­sue an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der as he did for the Dream Act kids a year ago, where he ba­sic­ally leg­al­izes 11 mil­lion people by the sign of a pen,” Ru­bio said dur­ing an in­ter­view with ra­dio sta­tion WFLA earli­er this week.

Brook­ings sup­ple­men­ted monthly U.S. Cit­izen­ship and Im­mig­ra­tion Ser­vices data with a Free­dom of In­form­a­tion Act re­quest to DHS for more in­form­a­tion about the size, demo­graph­ics, geo­graph­ic dis­tri­bu­tion, age, and year of ar­rival of ap­plic­ants to the DACA pro­gram.

Based on es­tim­ates that 936,000 eli­gible im­mig­rants were liv­ing in the U.S. when the pro­gram began, 59 per­cent have ap­plied. The ap­plic­ants come from 192 coun­tries, al­though 96 per­cent are from the same 25 coun­tries that have at least 1,000 ap­plic­ants each. The vast ma­jor­ity of ap­plic­ants, 75 per­cent, are from Mex­ico, with the next largest group, 4 per­cent, from El Sal­vador. At least 1 per­cent of ap­plic­ants hailed from Hon­dur­as, Guatem­ala, South Korea, Peru, Brazil, Colom­bia, and Ecuador.

The study’s au­thors say the trends among DACA ap­plic­ants could pre­view the demo­graph­ics of a large-scale leg­al­iz­a­tion of un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants. Ex­perts spec­u­lated that ag­gress­ive cov­er­age of the pro­gram by Span­ish-lan­guage me­dia could ac­count for the high per­cent­age of ap­plic­ants from Span­ish-speak­ing coun­tries. By com­par­is­on, only 4 per­cent of ap­plic­ants came from Asi­an coun­tries, even though it is es­tim­ated that they rep­res­ent 6 per­cent of eli­gible im­mig­rants for the pro­gram.

Ap­plic­ants for the pro­gram had to ar­rive in the U.S. be­fore age 16 and reside here without leg­al status since June 15, 2007. The most fre­quent age of ar­rival was 8, though two-thirds came to the U.S. be­fore they were 10 years old. There was a spike in im­mig­ra­tion between 1998 and 2001, which rep­res­ent the peak years of ar­rival for DACA ap­plic­ants.

House mem­bers de­par­ted for the Au­gust re­cess with a hand­ful of single-is­sue im­mig­ra­tion bills and no timeline for when they might get a fi­nal vote. None of the ex­ist­ing bills ad­dresses the vast ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion that came to the U.S. il­leg­ally as adults.

Yet an­oth­er group of high-pro­file Re­pub­lic­ans, in­clud­ing former Mis­sis­sippi Gov. Haley Bar­bour and former Sec­ret­ary of State Con­doleezza Rice, came out Thursday in fa­vor of a se­quence of pro­vi­sion­al leg­al status, leg­al per­man­ent res­id­ency, and cit­izen­ship for im­mig­rants.

Bar­bour and Rice, along with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former U.S. Hous­ing and Urb­an De­vel­op­ment Sec­ret­ary Henry Cis­ner­os — both Demo­crats — were the co­chairs of the Bi­par­tis­an Policy Cen­ter’s Im­mig­ra­tion Task Force, which is­sued re­com­mend­a­tions for im­mig­ra­tion re­form Thursday.

“I be­lieve if there is a rig­or­ous path to cit­izen­ship that does have rig­or­ous re­quire­ments, I’m com­fort­able with it,” Bar­bour said on a con­fer­ence call with re­port­ers.

The BPC re­com­mend­a­tions broadly track with the le­gis­la­tion ap­proved by the Sen­ate, al­though task force mem­bers say they hope their sug­ges­tions will im­prove the bill. In par­tic­u­lar, they called for more pre­cise met­rics to meas­ure bor­der se­cur­ity.

“The cur­rent Sen­ate bill provides ad­di­tion­al bor­der as­sets, such as more bor­der per­son­nel and tech­no­logy. However, it does not provide out­come-based bor­der-se­cur­ity met­rics that are trust­worthy and veri­fi­able, such as meas­ur­ing the net in­flow of il­leg­al mi­grants or the per­cent­age of in­di­vidu­als who over­stay their visas,” the re­port said. “We be­lieve the United States should es­tab­lish a sci­en­tific­ally val­id set of meas­ures that are audited by an in­de­pend­ent com­mis­sion and pub­lished peri­od­ic­ally for pub­lic scru­tiny.”

It’s un­clear wheth­er the re­com­mend­a­tions will have that much ef­fect on law­makers who are home hear­ing from their con­stitu­ents — some of whom don’t want to ex­tend cit­izen­ship to im­mig­rants here il­leg­ally. The task force plans to pub­li­cize its re­com­mend­a­tions at events throughout the coun­try as well as through op-eds in loc­al news­pa­pers. Mem­bers also will be tak­ing the re­port to meet­ings on Cap­it­ol Hill.

The de­cision to re­lease the re­com­mend­a­tions dur­ing the Au­gust re­cess was not meant to pres­sure law­makers, but rather to put out a straight­for­ward plan that “gets a bird’s eye view of the ma­jor pil­lars of a bal­anced re­form,” said former Home­land Se­cur­ity Sec­ret­ary Mi­chael Cher­toff, a mem­ber of the BPC task force. “Hope­fully that will help [the Amer­ic­an people] en­gage and talk to their rep­res­ent­at­ives.”

What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
1 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×