How A California ‘Study Abroad’ Program Is Aiding Obama’s Amnesty

Dale L. Wilcox Dale L. Wilcox is Executive Director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (www.irli.org).
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The state of California has apparently been facilitating an obscure part of the President’s amnesty program that converts certain beneficiaries of deferred action from illegal to legal status. The state program’s being funded in part by California taxpayers and has the backing of the Mexican government.

Under the guise of a “study abroad” program, California state universities have begun sending illegal aliens covered by the President’s 2012 DACA initiative out of the country for so-called “cultural exchanges.” When they return they’ll be allowed to adjust to legal permanent status through the president’s “parole” power. The executive’s parole authority, a discretionary grant of deportation-relief, has become a source of controversy under the Obama Administration. As Senator Grassley detailed in a recent letter to the Homeland Security department (DHS), the president has widely abused his authority to parole, applying not on a “case-by-case” basis as Congress originally intended, but to entire groups, like the waves of Central American minors coming over the border hoping to receive “permisos.”

Under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), immigration authorities may grant parole to an otherwise removeable alien “only on a case-by-case basis” and only “for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” Before the power was concretely defined in statute in 1965, the executive had purported to apply parole en masse as a kind of blanket refugee — or Temporary Protected Status –program when the recipients in question clearly couldn’t meet the standards of either. But blanket grants of parole persisted, pushing Congress to further limit via statute the executive’s use of the authority. As the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has noted, Congress sought to curb parole abuse out of concern that it “was being used by the executive to circumvent congressionally established immigration policy.”

According to news reports, California’s specifically taking advantage of the President’s new use of so-called “advance parole.” That benefit’s generally granted to legal aliens with a pending application for adjustment of status (i.e. from temporary to permanent status) who need to temporarily exit the country but whose status bars them from re-entry. Last year, Senator Mike Lee brought it to light that the president was planning to apply advance parole to deferred action-recipients, an application USCIS officials themselves have admitted has no statutory basis.

Under Section 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) of the INA, generally illegal aliens staying in the U.S. for over a year who return to their homeland and then re-enter the US trigger a bar on future admissibility for a period of 10 years. The policy interest here is simple. As liberal law professor and amnesty-critic, Peter Margulies points out, the ten-year bar reflects Congress’s aim to deter the continued presence of illegal aliens, sending “a powerful legislative signal to foreign nationals who were unlawfully present not to linger in the United States.” Under the president’s blanket use of advance parole, however, those aliens who leave and return not only don’t become barred, they’re able convert their illegal alien status into legalalien status and eventually become citizens.

Applying for parole in advance before taking a trip out of the country, however, doesn’t erase the grounds for inadmissibility when the outgoing illegal alien seeks to re-enter at the border. For instance, one may still be deemed inadmissible by a border agent if they’ve accumulated more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S. (which all DACA-recipients have). This poses a risk then to those who decide to take up the opportunity offered by pro-amnesty state governments like California’s.

That the California government’s working to facilitate this unlawful program shouldn’t be surprising. The head of the state university system, Janet Napolitano, was DHS Secretary when DACA was announced. While Secretary, she met almost daily with the various anti-borders advocates, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Anti-Defamation League, and pro-amnesty Catholic groups. As for California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, she recently arranged a media conference call criticizing the Fifth Circuit when it ordered to keep the freeze on Obama’s DAPA amnesty program. The phone call, which included an illegal alien representative from the ‘Drop the I-Word’ campaign, had nothing to do with state business, a fact admitted to by AG officials in internal emails obtained by my law firm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

Besides California, the Mexican government also seems to be facilitating this illegal process. Their consulates in California and Texas (and likely elsewhere) have created “study abroad” scholarships limited only to Mexican DACA-recipients. “Upon selection”, the applicants are told, the illegal aliens “must immediately apply for, and be approved for, Advance Parole.” Mexico, which also gives grants to DACA-recipients, has long been a financier of anti-borders groups, including the Soros-funded Heartland Alliance. For Mexico’s leaders, making sure America doesn’t build a border fence is critical to their staying in power. As one adviser to former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Fredo Arias-King, recently stated, Mexican elites love having open borders with the U.S., as it allows them to get rid of their poor and uneducated and relieves them from making much-needed domestic reforms.

Fortunately for Californians who support immigration control, their state law allows taxpayers to sue their government when their money’s spent on unlawful programs. Considering the continued abuse of the parole authority under this Administration and the complicity of California’s government, here’s hoping a concerned California resident steps forward and challenges this glaring abuse of our immigration laws and national sovereignty.