More than 1,000 illegal immigrant amnesty recipients have received U.S. citizenship, according to figures released Friday by the House Judiciary Committee.
A loophole allows certain recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to leave the country and then re-enter and gain lawful permanent residence, commonly known as a green card, putting them on a path for citizenship. The House Judiciary Committee got data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that showed 39,512 DACA recipients have gotten green cards.
The figures released indicate that 2,181 DACA recepients that have received green cards have applied for citizenship and 1,056 of these have successfully become citizens.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was started by former President Barack Obama in 2012 and has protected roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants from deportation and granted them work permits. Trump vowed on the campaign trail to end the program and will make an announcement Tuesday on DACA’s future.
DACA does not confer legal status upon illegal immigrants and is a form of prosecutorial discretion. However, a 2012 administrative court decision allows DACA beneficiaries who leave the country through advance parole to adjust their legal status. Advance parole allows the amnesty recipients to leave the country for travel such as humanitarian assistance or a study abroad program.
Re-entering the country after receiving advance parole means the immigrant has entered the nation lawfully, thus allowing them to adjust their legal status. Not having continuous lawful presence in the U.S. is an obstacle to gaining a green card, however, illegal immigrants with a direct relation to an American citizen (child, spouse, or parent) can get around this rule.
The figures released Friday showed that 86.9 percent of the 45,447 DACA beneficiaries that have been approved for advance parole have received green cards.