Obama’s election-year immigration move could create logistical nightmare
President Barack Obama’s new de facto amnesty for young illegals will create a logistical nightmare when it is implemented, according to a chorus of legislators and policy analysts.
The new program, initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and announced by President Obama, will bring nearly one million new people into the offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Meanwhile, a deferred action — whereby DHS decides at its discretion against deporting or prosecuting an individual — must be done for free for every new applicant.
Amid all of this, a continuing hiring freeze at all levels of the federal government means that USCIS won’t be allowed to hire any new employees to deal with the influx of new immigration cases.
Add to that President Obama’s decision to sidestep Congress, which leaves the program without specifically appropriated funds.
All of this, say critics, creates a program that is unworkable and will only lead to rationing of other services provided by USCIS.
Jessica Vaughan, a policy analyst at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, explained how she believed this would play out. “The immigrant that paid money for a visa application is the one that’s going to get hurt because their case will now be slowed down dramatically even though they followed all the rules,” Vaughan told TheDC.
Similar concerns prompted Senator Chuck Grassley — along with 19 other Republican senators including Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, and Ron Johnson — to fire off a letter Tuesday to President Obama.
“Can you assure us that the total implementation cost of the program will be paid for by the individuals seeking to benefit,” the letter asked, “or will U.S. taxpayers subsidize any part of the program?”
“We understand that the Department has never previously charged a fee for the processing of a request for deferred action,” the Republicans noted.
Finally, the senators asked, “If USCIS adjudications staff will be diverted from their normal duties to handle the millions of potential deferred action applications, what will be the impact on other USCIS programs?”
Wesley Denton, press secretary for one of the letter’s signatories, Sen. Jim DeMint, said he expects a response from the White House in a week to ten days.
USCIS, unlike most agencies, is funded almost exclusively through fees charged for various immigration documents and processes, like obtaining a visa. Deferred actions — the same tool Obama is using for his new immigration program — have traditionally been done for free.
Vaughan noted that a deferred action was traditionally done on a case-by-case basis and that a blanket decision spanning this many people is exceptional.
It appears the specifics of the new program are still to be worked out. According to the USCIS website, while the initiative begins immediately, USCIS asks all applicants to wait sixty days to submit an application while the department makes preparations.
“US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) alerts eligible individuals NOT to submit a deferred action request under the Deferred Action Process for Young People memorandum issued by Secretary [Janet] Napolitano on June 15. If you submit now, your application will be rejected. The Secretary’s directive gives USCIS 60 days to create a process to accept these requests and we are unable to accept requests at this time. Please continue to check our website for updates. “
USCIS is not without controversy. In January 2012, the Daily reported that USCIS agents were urged — sometimes despite objection — to rush immigrant visa applications by senior officials.
USCIS declined to comment for this report and referred all inquiries to DHS. DHS did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.