Why the U.S. shouldn't keep dreamers here

Editor's note: This was written in response to our editorial published Dec.28.

My grandparents emigrated to the United States from Mexico 115 years ago and my wife’s forebears came here from Europe a generation before that. Their dreams got them here by understanding, accepting and following our immigration laws and requirements. My family and I enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and we do not begrudge others who seek the same. DACA is not a legal pathway to those benefits and it’s not all that it’s represented to be.

Writing in The Daily Signal, American attorney Hans von Spakovksy (whose parents were immigrants) points out some things about DACA and “Dreamers”. Claims that Dreamers were brought here as children and have never known another country or customs may be true of a small portion of the DACA population, but it is not true of all who received amnesty by virtue of having come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and being under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. DACA required enrollment in school, graduation from high school, a GED certificate, or honorable discharge from the military; no conviction for a felony or significant misdemeanor; and not posing a threat to national security or public safety. However, the Obama administration routinely waived the education requirement as long as the alien was enrolled in some kind of program. Less than half of DACA beneficiaries have a high school education despite the fact that a majority of them are adults.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch suggest that the “lean and light” system of background checks for DACA applicants only vetted a randomly-selected few and because DACA only excluded individuals for convictions, an illegal alien might have committed multiple crimes of which he or she was not convicted and would still be eligible.

English fluency was not a DACA requirement and in fact, the original application asked if the form had been read to applicants in a language in which they were fluent, which doesn’t comport with the argument that Dreamers are children who don’t speak the language of their native countries. Studies estimate that a quarter of the DACA-eligible population is functionally illiterate and another 46% have only ‘basic’ English ability. It thus seems that a high percentage of DACA beneficiaries have serious limitations in their education, experience, and English fluency that negatively affect their ability to function here.

Of the 33 million legal immigrants admitted to this country since 1982, 60% came by “chain migration”, where a legal immigrant sponsors others for entry. The average immigrant has sponsored 3.45 others but it may be higher for DACA beneficiaries since most were from Mexico and they on average sponsor 6.38 others. Providing amnesty attracts more illegal aliens and will not reduce enforcement problems along our borders and interior. The laws must be enforced and allowing illegal aliens to enter and remain here must be discouraged. Until that is done, it is unwise, unfair, and illegal to consider a DACA-type bill or amnesty for those who are not here legally.

— Oscar Zuniga lives in Medford.

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