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Real Definition of DACA/DREAMERS Is Not What Is Said
Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert Peggy Sands Orchowski -- Immigration Expert
Washington, DC
Friday, May 24, 2019


Real Definition of DACA/DREAMERS Is Not What Is Said

By Peggy Sands Orchowsi

"Young children brought to the United States illegally (aka "undocumented") by their parents".

That's how DACA/DREAMERS are described by advocates, by almost everyone in the media and by almost every Congressional member of the House Judiciary Committee on May 22.  The committee spent a full day to mark up and pass HR 2820, the Dream Act of 2019 that would give green cards to over four million immigrants currently residing in the U.S. illegally.

And yet not a single word of that definition appears in any version of DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Acts since 2007.  Not one word of that definition exists in President Obama's 3-page Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order

The basic definition of DACA/DREAMERS in all legislative proposals and executive orders up to 2017 is: any individual who "CAME INTO THE UNITED STATES BEFORE THE AGE OF 16".  The Democrats Dream Act of 2017 and 2019 changed the age to 18.  

There is nothing in any Dream Act or DACA order about DREAMERS being  "brought in" by their parents or anyone else.  They can come in alone, or with a fake relative, a trafficker or a kidnapper, a fellow student or a tourist.

They don't have to come in illegally.  Almost 30 percent of DACA/DREAMERS are thought to have come into the United States legally on visa waivers or temporary permits through a legal port of entry in a car, a bus, a plane or an ocean cruiser.   Over 30 percent of potential DREAMERS are estimated to have overstayed their temporary non-immigration permits and then as adults apply for DACA/DREAMER benefits as "undocumented" immigrants.

Applicants have to have either graduated from high school or be in enrolled in some kind of alternative high school diploma program.  That means most all DACA DREAMERS  are 18 or older – millennials.

Clearly DREAMERS do not have to have lived nearly all their lives in the U.S. as advocates often depict.   The 2017 and 2019 Dream Acts require only that they live in the States four years before the Act's signing into law (in prior Dream Acts and DACA it was before 2007, but no longer).

The 2019 DREAM Act has no upper age limit to apply (32 years was the maximum age in prior DreamActs and DACA).

To qualify as a DREAMER in the new Act, applicants cannot have been convicted of more than 3 misdemeanors or 1 felony – not counting infractions of immigration status. But there are waivers for even felonies.

DREAMERS also need not know Engllish.  There is no English language requirement in either the DREAM Act or the DACA order.

The 2019 Dream Act would qualify at least 4 million individuals living illegally in the U.S.  for over four years for green cards. The max in prior Dream Acts was 1.8 million.   Millions more illegal immigrants would also be legalized if the parents of DREAMERS and DREAMERS who have been deported since 2007 are included as many advocates want. 

This is clearly not the concept that most compassionate Americans have of DREAMERS.

Numerous national polls find that a majority of U.S. citizens favor legalizing illegal immigrants who were small children when brought illegally by their parents into the U.S. where they have lived almost all their lives.

But few Americans favor the idea of encouraging millions of teenagers who knowingly came in alone illegally by assaulting a border barrier.  Few Americans support the idea that the  millions of teenagers who enter the States legally every year on temporary permits are now encouraged to overstay those permits and apply for protection from removal as DREAMERS.

One of the two dream DREAMERS Congresswoman Jayabel described passionately at the markup on Wednesday did just that: "She came in at 15 with her parents on legal visas," the Congresswoman reported.  "For years they tried to get permanent status without success.  Since their permits expired, they now live in terror of being deported". 

"DREAMERS serve in our military," Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) claimed emphatically.  Yet the military is very clear that only non-citizens with permanent residency status or green cards can serve.  Undocumented individuals like DREAMERS and DACA recipients simply are not eligible to enlist.

It is unlikely that the Dream Act of 2019 will become law.  But the expanding false marketing of DREAMERS is making them  a scam.

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“We can’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been”. Vice President of the Brookings Institution Darrell West wrote in recommending Peggy Sands Orchowski’s books   "The Law That Changed The Face of America: The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965" and  "Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 and 2008 respectively).  Peggy is a credentialed Senior Congressional journalist in Washington DC. She is available for interviews, article assignments and speaking engagements about immigration   porchowski@hotmail.com

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