Democrats Make Last-minute Push for Mass Amnesty Cloaked as a “DACA fix”
FAIR Take | November 2022
On November 16, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stood in front of a gaggle of immigration advocates and declared, “Our ultimate goal is to help the DREAMers, but get a path to citizenship for all 11 million or however many undocumented there are here.” Having failed to deliver for their base on immigration this Congress, Democrats are making an eleventh-hour push for mass amnesty during the lame-duck session. Many are selling this as a “DACA fix,” referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in legal limbo following recent court decisions. But make no mistake: Democratic ambitions are larger than just the DACA population – a subset of DREAMers, which in turn are a subset of the undocumented population. Republicans must avoid this trap and reject all forms of amnesty lest they create a stronger magnet for illegal migration across the open southern border.
DACA was not authorized by Congress, nor even by executive order. It came about in 2012 when Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security issued an internal memo allowing for “prosecutorial discretion” in enforcing immigration law. In July 2021, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled DACA exceeds powers delegated to the executive branch and violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which lays out agency rulemaking procedures. Biden appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which remanded for consideration of a new federal rule to “preserve and fortify” DACA. It’s likely to wind up before the Supreme Court. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are beholden to radical open-borders groups like United We Dream that demand amnesty for all illegal aliens in the U.S., which FAIR estimates number 15.5 million. DACA covers only about 600,000 aliens. Democrats know they need at least ten Senate Republicans on board to get around a filibuster, but they risk internal revolt if their “DACA fix” is too narrow.
As of now, legislative text hasn’t emerged but Democrats may look to the House-passed American Dream and Promise Act as a blueprint for this last-ditch effort. While this might “fix” DACA (insofar as Democrats are concerned), it’s also a bonanza for immigration activists and would instantly render over 4.4 million aliens eligible for green cards. It gives amnesty to the entire universe of DREAMers, which includes any children who entered the United States before age 19 regardless of whether they meet the narrower age, residency, and educational criteria for DACA.
We have already seen an explosion of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) at the southern border under Biden, who has flown many of them at taxpayer expense into American suburbs. His Department of Health and Human Services has completely lost track of 20,000 UACs, leaving them open to exploitation by human traffickers. Against this backdrop, amnesty in any form will only exacerbate a raging humanitarian crisis by creating more pull factors for illegal migration. Instead of granting mass amnesty under the guise of a “DACA fix,” lawmakers should focus first and foremost on securing the border and protecting the communities where American citizens live, work, and play.