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Immigration Act: Dream Or Nightmare?

Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff has begun assembling summaries of key provisions of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. They released the first one, which deals with how the act treats “dreamers,” this afternoon. It is titled, “Immigration Bill S. 744 Allows Milllions of Illegal Immigrants to Become Citizens in 5 Years – And Bring Their Relatives On An Expedited Basis.

* Those who qualify for the broad DREAM Act fast-track amnesty under S. 744 – estimated by Steve Camarota to be between 2 to 3 million people – are able to become citizens after being in registered provisional immigrant (RPI) status (the general amnesty) for 5 years. Those 5 years are deemed as having been spent in legal permanent resident status (under current law LPRs must wait 5 years before becoming citizens).

o There is NO AGE CAP on eligibility
o The Secretary can allow a deported DREAMer who is outside the U.S. or who has re-entered the U.S. illegally after the December 31, 2011 cut-off date to apply for this status.

* Illegal agriculture workers will also be placed on an expedited path: green cards in five years and citizenship in ten. This could apply to close to a million people or more.

* So-called DREAMers will also be able to get green cards for their parents, spouses and children five years from enactment. They will then be eligible for citizenship five years after that. Therefore the DREAM provision of the bill alone would be responsible for potentially 10 million new citizens in five-ten years [rough estimation].

* S. 744 would allow unlimited visas for the spouses and children of all green card holders – both those currently illegal and new legal immigrants, leading to exponential chain migration.

* In addition, under S. 744, any LPR can petition for visas for adult unmarried sons and daughters (but they must wait for a visa to become available). A citizen also will be able to petition for their married sons and daughters under the age of 31 if visas are available under the family-based visa cap.

* S. 744 appears to allow those who have been granted status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA) to immediately adjust to LPR status under a “streamlined procedure” determined by the Secretary and consistent with the DACA requirements. These individuals may petition for visas for family members in the same manner as the LPRs described above. According to USCIS statistics, 472,004 DACA applications were accepted for review between August 2012 and March 2013; 268,361 were approved; only 16,778 were deemed incomplete and required resubmission; and only 1,377 were denied.

* Taking into account the expedited legalization of illegal immigrants, the expansion of low-skill legal immigration, and the new avenues for chain migration, the bill would exponentially increase the number of people granted legal status.

The Gang’s bill would bring about a demographic transformation of the United States by enabling tens of millions new immigrants, largely through the perverse policy of chain immigration. The consequences of inundating the United States with tens of millions of uneducated, low-wage workers are poorly understood, but certain to be bad. I can understand why some Democrats would favor this kind of radical transformation of America, which they don’t much like to begin with. But why any Republicans would look favorably on it is beyond me.

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