Hull: Donald Trump Right to Oppose Ryan Amnesty

immigrant DACA donald trump
AP/Jose Luis Magana

Last week on Fox and Friends, President Trump was asked about Speaker Ryan’s proposed compromise immigration bill and the conservative alternative proposed by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.  “I’m looking at both of them,” Trump said. “I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.” 

Now, pro-amnesty aides in the White House immediately backpedaled, “clarifying” that the president did not mean the Ryan Amnesty bill, but some other measure. But they shouldn’t have.

The president was right to oppose the Ryan amnesty – because it’s not just for Dreamers, but Nightmares. 

Why do I say that? 

First, the Ryan Amnesty could worsen both the opioid and MS-13 crises. Newly released data shows that 66% of self-reported criminals were initially approved under the current Deferred Action for Criminal Aliens (DACA) program, and 94 percent were granted renewals, for a total of 33,709 of self-reported criminals in the DACA program so far.

At least 2,139 DACA recipients received amnesty but had been terminated “due to a criminal conviction, gang affiliation, or a criminal conviction related to gang affiliation.  (For the record, most DACA recipients – and most illegal aliens – have committed identity theft, which should disqualify them, and for some reason does not.) 

The Federal government has already run an experiment on this idea, and the result is that it grants amnesty to criminals and gang members – the driver of the opioid epidemic. 

Second, far too many DACA recipients are not in fact children. The eldest DACA recipient is not some sweet little child, but 36 years old. Moreover, 8,615 current DACA recipients don’t even have information available for their age.  Astonishingly, 8,964 current DACA recipients have confirmed disqualified age or entry requirements.  The DACA age definition is too lenient, and is already inadequately enforced. 

Third, DACA recipients are likely drop out of high school, given that a towering 41% of Mexican migrants, who account for three quarters of dreamers, had according to a 2011 New York Times study.  Though second-generation Mexican Americans attained higher levels of schooling than their immigrant parents, Never-Trumper David Frum reports, “the third generation does not on average improve much on the second—and the fourth generation on average falls back below the third.”  Finally, only 49 percent of DACA beneficiaries have a high school education, despite the fact that a majority of them are adults.

Not only are they not valedictorians, they are all too often dropouts – no matter what the eligibility requirements allege. 

Fourth, DACA recipients have extremely limited English, perhaps the most important factor in determining future success.  Though President Obama once claimed Nightmares face “deportation to a country [they] know nothing about, with a language” they don’t speak, the original DACA application requested applicants to answer whether the form had been “read” to the alien by a translator “in a language in which [the applicant is] fluent.”

The Center for Immigration Studies has estimated “perhaps 24 percent of the DACA-eligible population fall into the functionally illiterate category and another 46 percent have only ‘basic’ English ability.” 

Fifth, the Ryan Amnesty in particular has the potential to be the largest amnesty in history.  The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 76 percent of the DACA beneficiaries were from Mexico, whose immigrants sponsor an average of 6.38 additional legal immigrants—the highest rate of chain migration for any nationality, nearly double that of the average immigrant. 

More MS-13 “animals” and other brutal gang members. 

More drugs, including deadly heroin and fentanyl. 

Amnesty for adults and drop-outs who have limited English or are functionally illiterate. 

More chain migration. 

The largest amnesty in history. 

The Ryan Amnesty bill is not a dream – it’s a nightmare. 

Trump was right to say he wouldn’t sign it, and his staff was wrong to walk that back. 

Christopher C. Hull, Ph.D. is the Executive Vice President of the Center for Security Policy, a three-decade-old national security think tank dedicated to peace through strength.  A former chief of staff on Capitol Hill, Dr. Hull is the author of Grassroots Rules (Stanford University Press, 2007).  


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