Will Gang of Six Grant Amnesty to ex-DACA Gang Members and Criminals?
Jennifer G. Hickey
One of the unanswered questions about so-called “bipartisan deal” put on the table by six pro-amnesty senators is just how many illegal immigrants will reap the reward of amnesty? In many ways, the reality of the proposal does not match with the dreams its sponsors are selling.Not only would the “Gang of Six” give the recipients of President Obama’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program a pathway to U.S. citizenship, it would pave the way for DACA-eligible illegal aliens and the parents of DACA illegal aliens.Nor does it make cuts to legal immigration levels, and it fails on multiple levels to strengthen security at the borders or interior law enforcement.But there are serious questions even if amnesty is reserved for the 700,000 individuals who have already benefitted from DACA.The question is all the more important given recently-disclosed U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) statistics show more than 2,000 recipients have had their status revoked due to criminal activity or gang affiliation.During a hearing last year, USCIS acting director James McCament told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his agency can only estimate the number of criminal DACA recipients because the agency does not “electronically track” the underlying reasons for terminating DACA status.In follow-up answers recently provided Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), McCament revealed that as of November 22, 2017, approximately 2,127 DACA recipients have been removed from the program due to either criminal activity or concerns about gang affiliations. The figures date back to the start of the program in 2012.While 652 have been deported or are in custody of immigration officials, the agency statistical breakdown shows more than 500 remain in in the U.S. and unaccounted for.Specifically, 535 were released from federal custody and ICE has no record of removal, detention or release for another 940 one-time DACA “kids.”The yet unwritten proposal from Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) currently lacks any provisions enhancing law enforcement authority to deport or detain criminal aliens. Nor does it address the reality that gang affiliation or membership is not sufficient grounds to deny a green card applicant.The Gang of Six has shown they want to protect DACA recipients, now it is time to show they want to protect the American people.As Chairman Grassley said recently, “they need to tell the American people why they refuse to give our government the new authorities needed to remove these individuals who have endangered our communities. They either support removing dangerous criminals, or they don’t, there’s no in between.”