The maddening details of the DREAM Decree

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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The maddening details of Obama’s DREAM Decree are becoming clearer. As this CIS report notes, 1) The decree doesn’t just apply to illegal immigrants who were “brought to this country by their parents.” It also would give work permits to those who snuck across the border by themselves as teenagers. “Through no fault of their own” is a talking point for DREAM proselytizers, not an actual legal requirement. 2) The same goes for the phrase “and know only this country as home.” That’s a highly imaginative riff on the decree’s actual requirement, which is for 5 years “continuous residence.”  It turns out “continuous residence” doesn’t mean what you think it means. “Immigration attorneys have been successful in getting immigration courts to whittle this down to a point where it is almost meaningless,” says CIS’s Jon Feere. As an illegal immigrant you can go back homeabroad for multiple 6-month stints during those five years–but, if precedent holds, in Janet Napolitano’s eyes you will still “know only this country as home.” …

Update: 3) Another mini-amnesty requirement–“do not present a risk … to public safety” –might not mean what it seems to mean either. According to Heather Mac Donald, if Obama’s decree follows the DREAM language, you could qualify if you have a criminal record with several misdemeanors, as long as the total jail time was less than 90 days. Given the tendency of prosecutors to plea-bargain down disturbing crimes (like theft), that would hardly limit the amnesty to those who, in Obama’s words, have “done everything right [their] entire life.” …

Update #2: Here is the Department of Homeland Security’s FAQ on the new mini-amnesty for DREAMers. Note there is no definition of what “through no fault of their own” means or how an immigrant could prove it. And the official eligibility requirements do not have a “fault” element–they only require that the immigrant came to the U.S. “under the age of 16.” This strongly suggests that “no fault of their own” is not actually a requirement–that anyone who comes here under age 16 is simply assumed to not have been at fault, even if they arguably were.

Mickey Kaus