Illegal Immigration, DACA, and Immigrant Visa Programs
Facts on illegal immigration: In 2017, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that approximately 12.5 million illegal aliens were living in the United States. This number is slightly higher than FAIR’s previous estimate of 12 million in 2011, after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study on criminal aliens incarcerated in state jails and prisons. According to the GAO, approximately 227,600 illegal aliens were incarcerated in state jails and prisons in FY 2009—a 40 percent and 25 percent increase, respectively, in criminal-alien incarcerations in state jails and prisons since FY 2003. The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) partially reimburses states and localities for the cost of incarcerating unauthorized immigrants. It does not reimburse states and localities for the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens who are in the country legally. However, SCAAP does partially reimburse the incarcerating authority for two types of criminal aliens: SCAAP illegal aliens who DHS has definitively determined are in the country illegally, and SCAAP unknown aliens, for whom DHS is unable to find a record.
The safety of every American citizen should be the federal government’s number-one priority. Congress is empowered to establish laws for citizenship and naturalization. Americans have been deceived by consecutive administrations who have failed to safeguard its citizens.
Facts on Immigration Visas: Every fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow to join the employment-based immigrant(s). A temporary work visa (H-1B) allows someone to come to and work in the U.S. for a period of up to six years. There are two main categories of U.S. visas: Nonimmigrant visa, for temporary visits for tourism, business, work, visiting family, or studying; and immigrant visa, for those who plan to live in the United States. U.S. Immigration law states that you must obtain a visa / permit to enter the country for a specific reason and for a specified period of time.
Under pressure from Congress to improve tracking of foreign visitors, the Department of Homeland Security has produced its first partial estimate of those who overstay their permits to be in the U.S. Of the 45 million U.S. arrivals whose tourist or business visas expired in fiscal 2015, the agency estimates that about 416,500 people remained in the country. The nation with the most visitors who failed to leave at the end of their authorized stay was Canada, followed by Mexico and Brazil.
Why should the U.S. consider renewing or granting immigration protection for foreign visitors who broke the law by overstaying their deadline? They clearly have no respect for the law nor appreciation for being granted the right to work in the United States.
Facts on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): DACA has protected more than 800,000 young adults from deportation and allowed them to work legally inside the United States. To apply, participants are required to be at least 15 years old and to have been brought into the country before age 16. President Obama established the DACA program by executive action in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum rescinding the DACA program on Sept. 5, 2017. The program is being phased out over six months, ending March 5, 2018. Bipartisan legislation (S.1615 and H.R.3440), entitled the Dream Act of 2017, is pending in Congress. On Feb. 12, the U.S. Senate began considering HR2579, the vehicle for immigration legislation.
An estimated 690,000 immigrant youth have DACA status, originating from more than 25 different countries. The top 10 countries of origin are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, South Korea, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Philippines. As of March 31, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has granted deferred status to 787,580 people under DACA. DACA applications in California top 424,995.
More than 25% of DACA participants are living in California, according to 2017 data from USCIS. Recipients are from all over the world, with about 80% from Mexico.
Younger undocumented immigrants who were eligible for Pres. Obama’s DACA amnesty program commit far more crimes than other immigrants or U.S. citizens. Prevention Research Center reported that immigrants age 15-35—the general demographic of the 700,000 in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. (Bedard 2018)
Protecting our nation's borders—land, air, and sea—from the illegal entry of people, weapons, drugs, and contraband is vital to our homeland security and economic prosperity.
We need to empower Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to first deport those with serious criminal records, and second, to deport visa recipients who have failed to follow U.S. law by overstaying their visas.