There is no group of people showered with more adulation than those granted amnesty under Obama’s illegal “DACA” program. Even Republicans speak approvingly of the “dreamers,” and there is near-consensus among the political class to protect “DACA,” as if it were a statute passed unanimously by Congress (like immigration enforcement laws!) or enshrined in the Constitution. For years, we were told that these people were the greatest among us, people who are valedictorians and are destined for a bright future. Well, if that is the case, why are they suing us to access welfare?
Yesterday, Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and CASA de Maryland filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against the Trump administration’s new rule, which finally enforces our public charge laws in our legal immigration system.
So, who are the parties to the lawsuit? Two illegal aliens! They are suing a law that is designed to protect taxpayers from giving green cards to those who are likely to become a financial burden. The problem is these two illegal aliens, although granted DACA amnesty by Obama, have no ability to get a green card. Aside from the absurd notion of suing Trump for partially enforcing a much stronger law, there quite literally is no standing in this case. Yet they are now treating DACA as if it is a legal category making illegal immigrants eligible for green cards.
More broadly, this lawsuit exposes another farce about the “dream” amnesty crowd. What happened to the valedictorians and entrepreneurs? How could advocates, on the one hand, tout these people as the most industrious folks in the country, but on the other hand sue the administration’s very weak public charge policy? Under the proposed rule, applicants can still receive funding from emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch programs, WIC or CHIP, foster care and adoption, student and mortgage loans, energy assistance, food pantries and homeless shelters, Head Start, and refundable tax credits – and still not be considered a public charge. All pregnant women and children can still receive Medicaid.
I thought these people were all net contributors in the tax system. Well, we seem to get the truth from lawsuits. Nothing reveals the true motivations like lawfare.
The reality is that any “dream” amnesty would serve as a major burden for Americans. A whopping 87 percent of illegal immigrant households benefit from at least one federal welfare program (not including refundable tax credits), primarily because of children born in the U.S. and erroneously made citizens. The cost will climb after amnesty, because more of them will be eligible for the full range of programs, even without American-born children.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that a bill similar to Trump’s original DACA amnesty proposal in 2017 would cost taxpayers $26.8 billion in Obamacare subsidies and other means-tested programs. And in a clear indication that these are largely impoverished individuals, the CBO notes that within five years of legalization, Obamacare subsidies would actually go down. Why? Because Medicaid consumption would go up! That is because Obamacare subsidies are available to most green-card holders immediately, while Medicaid kicks in only after five years of legal status. That was before the proposed rule where these people would be ineligible for a green card if they are accessing Medicaid. But if these are the best and brightest, why should they be on Medicaid in the first place?
It’s very likely that the cost is steeper than the CBO is admitting. The CBO only estimates costs to the federal budget, but it is already obvious that the lion’s share of the burden is borne by state and local governments, especially in public education. The Federation for Immigration Reform found that in places like Arlington, Virginia, unaccompanied minors (who originally came as a result of DACA in 2012) cost the locality $33,000 per enrollee. The organization found that state and local governments incur a $44.4 billion annual unfunded liability from young illegal aliens every year, dwarfing the 10-year federal cost. This doesn’t include the $12 billion annual burden on state health care programs and $11 billion annual cost on the criminal justice system.
Much of the burden in the school system is because of bilingual programs. There is a reason why 24.5 percent of the entire public school population in California is registered in Emerging Language Learner (ELL) programs, and it’s not because they “know no other country and language” but America and English. These are today’s “dreamers” and also the next wave of younger illegal aliens not currently eligible for DACA but to whom the “no fault of their own” amendment to the Constitution the Left is now advocating for will undoubtedly apply. Why else would there be an entire section reserved for interpreters on DACA applications published on USCIS’ website?
There are the poster-child “dreamers” that the political class shoves in front of the cameras to advocate for citizenship. Then there is the reality of what the data actually show about the tab Americans would be left with after such an amnesty. And that is comically reflected in this lawsuit.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.