How to Revise the DREAM Act, Part II: The Permanent Administrative Visa

By Stanley Renshon and Stanley Renshon on January 1, 2011

Removing the most egregious loopholes in any revised dream act still leaves complex and difficult problems to be solved. They are, as noted, the vexing problems of: (1) what to do about those who have been living in the United States for some period of time; (2) the question of rewarding immigration transgressions, (3) the question of providing incentives for future immigration lawbreakers; and (4) the question of where, and how clearly, to draw the line for any proposed solution so that any agreement will not be undone by subsequent legal warfare.

Assuming that moderates and conservatives want to act on the common ground of addressing the plight of those brought to this country as infants or young children and have grown up here, the best solution would be to include in relevant legislation the creation of a new immigration visa category: The Permanent Administrative Visa.

Applicants would have one year from the starting date of any legislation to apply for a PAV. Upon application, a person would be given a Temporary Administrative Visa issued for a reasonable (say, six months) non-renewable period of while the application process was completed.

This PAV would be issued upon successful completion of an application process that would involve the following:

  1. Providing documentary evidence (school records, doctor’s records, etc.) that the applicant was in the United States before he or she reached their thirteenth birthday and be no older than twenty-five at the time they file their application;

  2. Background checks for any prior convictions involving fraud, assault, reckless driving or DWI, failure to appear at any immigration hearing, or any past record of voluntary or involuntary deportation. Any such convictions would lead to a presumption of an unsuccessful application;

  3. Evidence of the withholding of any relevant information, or submitting false information would result in the automatic failure of an application. Any failure of an application would result in the applicant returning to his previous immigration status;

  4. Failure of an application due to withholding information or providing false information would subject the applicant to expedited removal proceedings;

  5. Waivers of any requirement connected with the application process could only be made on a case by case basis by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security setting out in detail the "compelling evidence" underlying such a waiver and the evidence used to support such a determination.

The Permanent Administrative Visa would carry with it the following authorizations:

  1. PAV holders would be allowed to legally work and obtain a U.S. passport (on the condition of turning in any other passports) for foreign travel;

  2. It would allow holders to establish residency in any state according to that state's requirements and be on equal footing with other legal immigrants with regard to state and local laws and policies;

The Permanent Administrative Visa would carry with it the following prohibitions:

  1. Holders of the PAV would not be able to sponsor family members and relatives for LPR status;

  2. Holding an PAV would not imply any safe harbor for applicant's family members;

  3. Holders of PAVs would not be eligible to receive means-tested public welfare benefits;

  4. Holders of PAVs would not be able to adjust their immigration status for a period of 10 years and then only through an administrative hearing in which the holder presented compelling evidence that such an adjustment is in the public interest. Such evidence would consist of, but not be limited to, applicant's work history, community service, military service, family circumstances, and the results of policy and security checks.

A One-time Only Policy: Consistent with the knowledge that adjusting the status of illegal immigrants brings with it the expectation that adjustments of the same kind will be made in the future, the language authorizing this initiative will explicitly state that:

  1. That no further adjustments to legal status will be made for children brought into the country illegally after the date on which this bill becomes law;

  2. That parents who bring their young children into the country illegally after the date of enactment will be subject to expedited removal proceedings.

Topics: DREAM Act