Childhood arrivals are threatening to take center stage in permissive states where politicians are falling over themselves to ensure that temporarily amnestied residents know who is on their side (see: Jobless? Illegals Are Laughing In Your Face Over Deferred Action.). With two of the largest illegal immigrant populations in the country, California and Illinois are racing neck and neck so both illegal immigrants and beneficiaries of the new Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) program are happy to call their state home.
Lack of citizenship does not mean lack of political influence.
Overeager Illinois Democrats were quick to show their approval for the USCIS childhood arrivals policy. Before he joined Congressman Luis Gutierrez to launch a workshop to help illegal immigrants sign up for immunity from U.S. immigration law, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called the program a “matter of justice” as he misrepresented the pool of eligibles:
The Obama Administration’s decision to extend temporary legal status to DREAM Act students is an historic humanitarian moment. This action will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they’ve ever called home.¹
Politicians pushing the USCIS policy forget that it is not the same thing as the DREAM Act. The program’s umbrella covers more than Durbin’s young immigrants and the childhood arrivals policy guidelines do not require that applicants be young or in school to receive their grant of immunity. They only need to prove that they graduated from high school, obtained a GED, or were discharged from the military.
Which state is better at sucking up to childhood arrivals, Illinois or California?
Illinois got the drop on California with a kickoff event at Navy Pier on August 15, 2012 attended by Senator Durbin, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Not to be outdone, two California Congresswomen talked up their own August 24, 2012 venue to provide information and get the state’s illegal immigrants on the road to immunity, proclaiming:
This first step in assisting those who have worked tirelessly in helping our economy grow has been a long time coming.²
With the passage of AB 2189 illegal immigrants in California who take advantage of the USCIS program can treat themselves to driver’s licenses. California beat Illinois to the punch on this one, but Illinois bested California when it came to ignoring ICE immigration detainers. Cook County had already come under scrutiny for its policy of disregarding detainers when Governor Jerry Brown rejected AB 1081, the “TRUST Act.” The bill would have legislated California’s resistance to holding illegal immigrants for federal authorities after they run afoul of the law. A letter to Brown signed by Nancy Pelosi and other House members called for “sensible limits” while trivializing ICE detainers:
By their own terms, immigration detainers are merely requests that a law enforcement agency continue to detain a person who should otherwise be released from custody.³
Washington set the tone by its shameless pandering to illegal immigrants.
States like California and Illinois are old hands at keeping their illegal immigrants content, boasting sanctuary cities (see: Sanctuary Cities Are No Havens for Taxpayers) and educational perks like reduced tuition and financial assistance. Washington is newer to the illegal immigrant entitlement game. With the childhood arrivals policy still fresh, questions are already being asked about USCIS’ implementation of deferred action and how the applications are being reviewed. Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley joined House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith in questioning whether a “Yes” during the application process was a foregone conclusion:
The signal being sent to adjudicators who process DACA applicants is clear: if they do not approve an application for DACA, then it will be reviewed by headquarters. Their decisions will be scrutinized until they get to a yes. This is unacceptable and must be rectified immediately so that adjudicators have the autonomy and authority to do what they are trained to do and to follow the letter of the law.4
The childhood arrivals policy is amnesty in disguise. Like temporary tax hikes and other government lies, there is nothing temporary about deferred action. After illegal immigrants have filed their paperwork and paid a fee that is only $35.00 less than the $500 fine called for in most immigration amnesty bills, the next step will be easy.