Would the "Kids Act" Really Be Limited to Kids? Questions about the Planned GOP Version of the DREAM Act Amnesty
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has called for a renewed push for amnesty for those in the country illegally. A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies, "Is the Kids Act Amnesty Just for Kids? Probably Not", examines what one of the more high-profile proposals may look like.
Although no text is yet available, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has promised to release the Kids Act, an amnesty that would formally legalize a large number of illegal aliens, including many of the 500,000-plus illegal aliens who have already been provisionally amnestied under President Obama's controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
"Like many amnesty proposals, the Kids Act is being sold as a limited legalization program for people who are not morally or legally culpable for entering the country illegally," commented Jon Feere, the Center's Legal Policy Analyst and author of the analysis. "But if past amnesty proposals are any guide, the Kids Act will likely benefit large numbers of people – including adults – who are very much culpable for entering the country illegally or overstaying a visa."
View the report at: http://www.cis.org/is-kids-act-really-just-for-kids
The report scrutinizes five issues:
- Would the Kids Act amnesty only benefit minors?
Advocates of the Kids Act sell their amnesty by focusing entirely on sympathetic young children. But most proposed amnesties for kids have never been limited to people 17 years of age or younger. For example most beneficiaries of the DREAM Act would be adults. It is likely that most beneficiaries of the Kids Act would be adults living in the United States illegally.
- Would applicants actually have to have been "brought" here?
There is a legal and moral difference between a child carried across on his parent's shoulders and a person who walks across the border or overstays a visa on his own volition. Teenagers involved in criminal gangs and smuggling operations often cross our borders illegally, but neither Obama's Deferred Action program nor the DREAM Act require applicants to prove they had no choice in crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa. The Kids Act may suffer from the same defect.
- Would the Kids Act help law-breaking parents stay in the country?
A legal and moral difference exists between a young child who is actually brought here and a person who knowingly violates U.S. law. If parents responsible for bringing children into the country illegally are able to legalize as a result of the Kids Act, the entire discussion of legal and moral culpability is rendered moot.
- How many illegal aliens would benefit?
It is estimated that 2.1 million illegal aliens are (or would eventually be) eligible for at least one version of the DREAM Act, while nearly 1.8 million illegal aliens are (or would eventually be) eligible for Deferred Action. On top of this, existing law allows illegal aliens who obtain U.S. citizenship to legalize their parents and bring in a spouse, unmarried children, and siblings. Depending on how it's written, the Kids Act could result in massive amounts of immigration.
- Will the Kids Act contain any enforcement measures?
Any amnesty should contain enforcement provisions that will prevent the need for another similar amnesty in the future. Without an enforcement-first component, any legislation risks replicating the 1986 amnesty's legacy of immediate legalization and promises of enforcement that never materialize.
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.
CONTACT: Marguerite Telford
SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies