Obama’s Stealth Amnesty for Illegal Immigrant Children Usurps Power of Congress

….. any changes in the law should be debated in Congress and passed there first. The Constitution provides that Congress shall make the laws, not the President and Executive Branch. 

By Rachel Alexander l October 18, 2012

Obama Rose Garden AnnouncementHomeland Security Secretary Napolitano Announces DACA


Unsuccessful at getting Congress to pass the DREAM Act in 2010, which would have awarded amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants, President Obama had the Executive Branch force through amnesty. In June, the Department of Homeland Security issued an order granting the children of illegal immigrants a two-year deferral of deportation and work visas. Although the children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. obtain automatic U.S. citizenship, children who are brought into the U.S. illegally do not. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), they can now apply for social security cards, driver’s licenses, professional certificates and even financial aid for college. Timed just a few months prior to the presidential election, the backdoor amnesty move was meant to woo more Latino votes.

Seven percent of those eligible applied in the first month. Almost 180,000 illegal immigrants have applied so far, and nearly 4,600 have already received approvals. California is leading in applications, followed by Texas, New York, Florida and New Jersey. Illegal immigrants who were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, when the program was announced, are eligible to apply. There are a few other caveats, such as having come to the U.S. before they were age 16, and they cannot have been convicted of certain serious crimes. As many as 1.7 million are eligible and in the future another half a million will be eligible.

DACA does not go quite as far as the DREAM Act, since it does not include a path to citizenship or grant legal status. Participants will need to apply again when the two-year deferment is up, when Obama may no longer be in office.

The Department of Homeland Security’s own estimates predict that administering the program could costtaxpayers up to $101 million. The Los Angeles School District features a prominent link on its website to a special webpage providing instructions to students on how to apply for the amnesty. Records will be provided to students free or at nominal cost, putting an additional burden on California’s already greatly strained budget. The school district plans to spend an additional $200,000 to improve its records request system.

A lawsuit has been filed in Texas federal court by ten Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials against the Obama administration, contending that DACA violates federal law and forces ICE employees to break the law by not arresting certain illegal immigrants. The State of Mississippi joined in the lawsuit on October 10, 2012.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, criticized the backdoor amnesty saying, “It’s astounding that the president’s administration can move so quickly to grant work authorization to illegal immigrants yet his jobs council hasn’t met in over eight months to find solutions to put unemployed Americans back to work.” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) also had strong words against the unilateral order, “The administration has effectively nullified existing federal law with the stroke of a pen.”

The applications are being processed so fast that both Congressmen have continued to express concerns. Rep. Smith stated, “Such a quick turnaround for these amnesty applications raises serious concerns about fraud and a lack of thorough vetting. While it took the administration less than three weeks to process several amnesty applications, it can take several months for some legal immigration benefit applications to be approved.” Rep. Sessions warned, “The speed at which the deferrals are being granted continues to raise severe concerns about fraud and the administration’s ability to verify items like age of entry, educational status and even current age.”

Pragmatically, the problem with giving amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants is it rewards the parents for wrongdoing. Other crimes don’t get similar treatment. For example, if a poor parent steals a bike for their child, the “innocent” child does not get to keep the bike. If a poor parent forges checks to put their child in a better private school, the child does not get to remain in the school, even though the child may live in a bad neighborhood with substandard schools.

One of the worst problems with the program is there is no way to verify when most illegal immigrants actually crossed the border. An adult could lie and say they crossed the border as a child and the federal government would not be able to prove otherwise. This means that millions more than expected may apply. This will likely exceed the three million illegal immigrants who became legal residents under theImmigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Philosophically, it is an overreach of power by the Executive Branch to usurp the powers of Congress by unilaterally creating immigration law. Immigration has become a very controversial political issue due to increased rates of illegal immigration, and any changes in the law should be debated in Congress and passed there first. The Constitution provides that Congress shall make the laws, not the President and Executive Branch. By Obama hijacking the powers of Congress, a dangerous amount of power has been put in the hands of one man.

This unilateral order will encourage more illegal immigration and cost the U.S. taxpayers millions if not billions of dollars. Even worse, they will be competing for jobs that Americans desperately need right now.

Edwin Meese, presidential counselor and Attorney General under President Reagan, said years later that the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 proved to be a failure. “There was extensive document fraud, and the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections…After a brief slowdown, illegal immigration returned to high levels and continued unabated, forming the nucleus of today’s large population of illegal aliens.” Reagan admitted the program had been a failure, calling it the worst mistake of his presidency. Meese asserts that Reagan today “would not repeat the mistakes of the past, including those of his own administration.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he will discontinue the program if he is elected president, although he would not revoke any of the work permits that are already in place. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Unless Mitt Romney becomes president, this amnesty program will certainly be far more disastrous than the 1986 amnesty.

Rachel Alexander is the founder of the Intellectual Conservative and an attorney. Ms. Alexander is also a contributor to

SFPPR News & Analysis .