DACA Measure Shouldn't Reward the Use of Kids as Human Shields for Illegal Immigration

By Dan Cadman on May 28, 2018

The House of Representatives inches closer to moving on a discharge petition that would force a vote on one of several immigration measures that have to do with how to handle so-called "Dreamers" — illegal aliens "brought here as children, through no fault of their own", as the mantra would have it.

I've said before that this mantra is only partly true: Some of these "children", although statutory minors by American law, were in their late teens and pretty much treated as adults in the countries where they were born; they came of their own volition. And of those for whom the statement is true, more often than not they were smuggled into the United States at the behest of their illegal alien parents, despite the great risk of victimization by the gang-affiliated smugglers who transported them.

Be all that as it may, the intractable question is what to do about them in light of the ground truth that the Obama administration got away with the breathtaking usurpation of congressional power that is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — in no small measure because the legislators now agonizing over the problem refused to act as a check against the blatant abuse of executive authority his program represented.

House Republican leadership appears to be flailing in its attempt to blunt the discharge petition, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that he won't move on any legislative measure that doesn't have the president's backing, and the president in turn has made clear that he won't sign into law any measure that doesn't contain funding for a southern border wall plus a host of other measures to tighten up border security and immigration enforcement.

Though it is a virtual certainty that no version of the bills considered under a discharge petition would meet the president's demands, even the most conservative House members now appear poised to consider what the bills might entail — including the hang-up of whether "Dreamers" would receive a "pathway to citizenship", and if so, whether that pathway would be via the usual route or in some way "special" (see here and here ).

This is a logical cul-de-sac. If "Dreamers" are to be granted relief that would give them lawful status it makes no sense to argue that they should be resident aliens in perpetuity. They should in fact at some point be granted the right to naturalize. However, there are valid reasons to ensure that this is by means of a graduated approach. First, through a period of time as conditional residents with a required re-vetting look-back to be sure they haven't violated any laws before the next step of acquiring permanent resident status. Then, through an even more significant period of time as permanent residents before being permitted to naturalize.

I suggest this not as punishment, but in recognition of the fact that granting amnesty and a pathway to citizenship must not act as an impetus for others to continue smuggling minors to the United States in perpetuity, in expectation of cyclical amnesties every generation or so.

Americans need to be aware of how these children are being cynically used — especially by their parents who hope to procure their own ultimate path to legal status via petitions filed by the children whom they put at risk — and how staggering the problem of unaccompanied minors queuing at our borders has become in recent years.

To that end, I strongly recommend you read a sobering summation of statistics from the White House:

The Administration has repeatedly advocated for the closure [of] federal immigration loopholes that would allow for the swift, safe, and expeditious return of illegal alien minors, adults, and families at the southern border. However, the Democratic Party has repeatedly opposed these loophole closures in favor of preserving "catch-and-release" policies that make a mockery of national sovereignty. The Administration is hopeful that the Democratic Party will abandon its position of open borders and will support the Administration's common-sense reforms to close catch-and-release loopholes, so all illegal aliens caught at the border can be returned home expeditiously.

  • Since the beginning of FY16, more than 110K UACs have been released into the interior of the United States, according to the most recent figures released by HHS.
  • From October to December of 2017, HHS placed 7,635 UACs with sponsors and only five of them were removed from the United States due to the legal loopholes in federal law that drive international child smuggling and reckless child endangerment.
  • Approximately 6,000 unaccompanied children each year fail to appear in court when they've been summoned subsequent to being released in the U.S. interior.
  • Approximately 90 percent of all removal orders each year result from a failure to appear at a hearing.
  • From October 2017 to this February, DHS saw a staggering 315% increase in illegal aliens using children to pose as family units to gain entry into the country, compared to the same time frame the previous year.
  • Only 3.4 percent of unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico encountered at the southwest border in FY 2014 had been removed or returned as of FY 2017 year-end.
  • From April 2017 to April 2018, the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) at the ports of entry increased by 636%.
  • The number of cases of UAC pending in immigration court has risen from less than 4000 in FY10 to over 76,000 presently.
  • The influx of UACs creates recruiting opportunities for brutal gangs such as MS-13. "Operation Matador," so far has led to the arrest of nearly 500 individuals, including 274 MS-13 members. Ninety-nine individuals arrested during this operation crossed the border as unaccompanied minors — that's more than 36% of those arrested — all of which were confirmed as MS-13 gang members.
  • The Democrats' open borders policies are responsible for the permanent separation of thousands of American families, whose loved ones were killed and taken from them forever through illegal immigrant crime and open borders. Just this week, an illegal MS-13 gang member, who was released in the country due to his status as an unaccompanied minor, was arrested for allegedly murdering a man in Houston and burning his victim's body.
  • Furthermore, Democrat policies preserving catastrophic asylum loopholes have led to a 600,000 caseload backlog that swamps out legitimate asylum seekers while overwhelming the entire U.S. immigration system and perpetuating a hemispheric migration crisis at enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers and American lives.

If we as a people are not to be complicit in this horrific stage play in which children are used as the ultimate weapon and shield for their illegal parents, then it falls, first, to the Congress to ensure that the parents who brought these children here "through no fault of their own" are not rewarded for their illicit acts; and, second, to the president to stand firm and veto any bill that takes such an unthinking approach, or that in any way falls short of closing the loopholes being used to allow our country to actually facilitate the smuggling of tens of thousands of vulnerable minors every year.