A writer for The Huffington Post‘s “Latino Voices” section thinks there is “virtually no evidence” that President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) temporary amnesty program has been “a magnet” that pulls illegal immigrant juveniles from Central America.
Contributor Roque Planas notes that conservatives view DACA “as an overstepping of presidential authority” and argues that it is false to believe that illegal immigrant juveniles “think they’ll be allowed to stay.” He also says the drastic increase in the number of illegal immigrants after Obama enacted DACA is not proof that DACA has been responsible for luring more illegal immigrants to America.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, “during the decade preceding fiscal year 2012, the federal government agency tasked with caring for unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally dealt with an average of 7,000 to 8,000 cases a year.” In 2011, there were 6,560, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In the fiscal year after Obama enacted DACA, there were 13,625 illegal immigrant juveniles. And since October of last year, there have been at least 57,500 illegal immigrant juveniles who have been apprehended. And federal officials expect 150,000 more will be detained in the next fiscal year.
Even the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has said that a “lack of clarity” about America’s immigration laws is leading his citizens to make the harrowing trip to America in pursuit of amnesty.
The Huffington Post contributor notes the “permisos,” which nearly 95% of migrants interviewed by Border Patrol agents said they were seeking, are “notices to appear in immigration court. But he says that since Obama’s DACA did not call for “permisos,” the program is not responsible for luring migrants.”
DACA did actually grant permission for nearly 550,000 illegal immigrant juveniles to remain in the United States if they met certain conditions, but illegal immigrant juveniles who are not even fluent in their own languages do not know the intricacies of U.S. immigration law. In addition, coyotes and smugglers have been telling migrants that they would receive permisos, due to Obama’s policies, that will allow them to indefinitely remain in the United States.
Roque also ignores that such “notices to appear” have been issued for years before Obama enacted DACA. During that time, illegal immigrant juveniles were not flooding across the border. They only did so, by their own admission, after Obama enacted temporary amnesty for DREAMers.
He even concedes that it is “easy to understand how Central Americans may misconstrue the meaning of a notice to appear” and recognizes that illegal immigrant juveniles “are normally permitted to reunite with family members” and stay in the country for years “due to the tremendous backlog in our immigration courts.” Yet somehow, he still thinks it is false to assert that illegal immigrant juveniles think they will be allowed to remain in the U.S.
Conservatives like Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have insisted that a border bill that does not expressly prohibit Obama from enacting more temporary amnesty should not pass Congress. Sessions, in particular, has noted that if Obama goes ahead and grants temporary amnesty and work permits to illegal immigrant adults, the border crisis will get even worse, as more adults will try to flood across the border.