Making DACA Beneficiaries Measure Up
Mainstream media profiles of young DACA recipients invariably portray them as college-going and upwardly mobile.In reality, most of the 800,000 DACA “youth” are now between 20 and 36 years old. Though the law requires applicants to have a high school diploma to enter the program, this is not happening.Twenty-one percent have dropped out of high school (vs. a national average of 5.8 percent). Twenty-two percent have earned bachelor’s degrees, compared with 32 percent of all Americans.Inevitably, a few have lapsed into lives of crime, some of it sensational.If President Barack Obama’s illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was intended to benefit American society, it’s yielding mixed results.Screening for the DACA program has been marred by weak eligibility standards, few interviews, cursory background checks and approval of people with criminal records, according to recent congressional testimony from the Center for Immigration Studies.Last year, 848 DACA recipients had their deferred status yanked for criminal activity. While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can be commended for a 30 percent increase in revocations, the criminal behavior, even at modest levels, comes at a cost to society at large.Now, amid a politicized push for amnesty on Capitol Hill, immigration agencies face unknown numbers of poorly vetted and potentially fraudulent applications to process.Rather than doubling down on previous mistakes by blindly rubberstamping DACA recipients for green cards, President Donald Trump and Congress must insist on rigorous benchmarks for those seeking the privilege of staying in the United States.America needs productive, educated and assimilated immigrants. If “extreme vetting” is required to do the job, so be it.
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