We were told that it would be better if illegal immigrants were drawn out of the shadows and documented. Therefore, an American president illegally amnestied many without the consent of the people’s representatives, something that even King George couldn’t do without parliament. Yet one look at new government data provided to Rep. Steve King and shared exclusively with Conservative Review shows that, six years into the illegal amnesty, we still know very little about the amnestied population. What we do know paints a disturbing picture of our government placing the desire for legalization at all costs ahead of its own stated criteria and public safety.
Illegal foreign nationals mean everything to our current political class. It is on their account that we have broken all legal norms and uprooted 200 years of legal precedent on sovereignty and control of immigration. It is on their account that the politicians refuse to confront the MS-13 and drug crisis caused by the border crisis. It is on their account that the border wall is being delayed, and therefore there is yet another surge of illegal immigration. They have the weight of every political, cultural, and even religious institution behind their cause. They are politically unassailable and unstoppable. Their dreams come before American dreams and their desires hold hostage any effort to secure our border. But who are they?
When any American applies for a major government-recognized status, such as TSA pre-screening or a specialty gun license, you better believe the government will find out everything about you, securely document it, and not tolerate any obfuscations or inaccuracies in information provided. Wouldn’t we expect that if foreign nationals who are in the country illegally are now seeking legal status, we would make sure to document everything about them, verify the accuracy of their identity, and absolutely deny status to anyone who didn’t fit the criteria, especially when the entire purpose was to “bring them out of the shadows?”
Evidently not, according to USCIS data delivered to Rep. Steve King answering his January request for answers to 10 specific questions and data points about the DACA population. King originally requested from USCIS the breakdown of how many DACA recipients truly met the eligibility criteria based on educational requirements, continuous residence, criminal record, and age. While the results themselves were both startling and incomplete, they revealed another problem: The agency seemed to be rushed and carless in storing the data and even in verifying the accuracy of DACA recipients’ identity.
Rep. King was told that the data from the paper applications concerning such important information as continuous residence and criminal records wasn’t even electronically recorded for the first three and a half years of the program, not until November 1, 2015. Prior data is simply unavailable at this point. “This process was so rushed that it appears USCIS used general staff rather than professional adjudicators to process and record the applications,” said King. “There were so many mistakes made in copying handwritten information into the electronic system that some applications had dates of birth copied into the system indicating the applicants were born over 100 years ago.”
According to the reporting data queried through the electronic database and prepared for Rep. King, 8,964 DACA recipients, based on their reported age or date of entry, were either too old or entered the country too late and should therefore have been disqualified. Under the amnesty program, applicants must have entered the country before 2007, have maintained continuous residence, and have been younger than 16 upon entry.
What’s more disturbing is that in addition to the 8,964 applications with confirmed disqualified age or entry requirements, 8,615 accepted applications don’t even have information available for their age. How could something this basic have been omitted, lost, or unverified?
This information alone raises an important question. How can we trust that the remaining data on age or entry dates is accurate when the information wasn’t electronically stored for the first few years, they were in such a rush to grant status, and granted status erroneously?
The answers lie in the form of identity offered by the applicants. But USCIS admitted to Rep. King that it does not have a record or breakdown of how many used passports and birth certificates and how many used less secure student ID cards, which were also accepted. “Obtaining this information would require a manual file review,” wrote USCIS Director Francis Cissna in his response letter to King’s queries.
How in the world could it not bother adjudicators that this information was never ascertained and recorded, wondered King? “This is like the hanging chads in Florida. We will need to go through the paper files to find out who these people really are.”
While USCIS did run the applicants through the FBI fingerprint database, many of them are known to have stolen or fabricated identities, and there was no effort to verify their full identities or criminal records in their home countries. Moreover, as is always the case, applicants under 14 weren’t fingerprinted. Given that we already know there was sloppy reporting and erroneously granted status, it raises serious questions as to how many others successfully engaged in fraud. About 2,100 of the applications didn’t even contain information as basic as their country of origin — yet they were still awarded DACA status!
“It was run on the honor system, with the government never laying eyes on most of the beneficiaries,” observed Jessica Vaughan, one of the leading experts on immigration and identity fraud, when shown the new information from USCIS.
“This is a recipe for fraud. There is a real risk that a huge percentage of the DACA beneficiaries are guilty of identity theft and fraud, either prior to obtaining DACA or during the application process. Surveys have suggested that about half of the DACA beneficiaries had worked illegally before obtaining the DACA work permit, and would have needed to use a false or stolen Social Security number to obtain employment. The government did not attempt to find out how many had used other SSNs or identity documents before applying for DACA. This is a concerning breach of responsibility, as identity theft is a serious crime that can cause real harm to unsuspecting citizens, whether by destroying their credit history, exposing them to financial loss, or preventing them from obtaining jobs and benefits they are entitled to.”
The new information on lack of verification and record-keeping dovetails with an important expose from the Washington Times in March concerning identity theft. According to the Washington Times, given that most DACA applicants had committed identity theft, they were required to “include all [Social Security] numbers [they] have ever used” in the application for a work permit.” But several months later, “as soon as this potential disincentive to apply for DACA was brought to the administration’s attention, USCIS rushed out a statement that they were ‘not interested’ in identifying individual violations of ‘some federal law in an employment relationship,’ and they amended their DACA website to limit the reporting of SSNs by DACA applicants to those ‘officially issued to you by the Social Security Administration.’”
Another criterion for status is that the alien maintained continuous residence in the country from 2007 and did not travel abroad. Once again, only approximately 75,000 applications in the electronic database (out of 817,000) indicated whether the applicant had traveled abroad. Indeed, 775 were confirmed to have traveled abroad but were given status anyway. No information about the country to which the alien traveled was included.
The report issued to Rep. King also showed that so many of the individuals didn’t fulfill the education requirements, some were downright criminals, and much of the data is not even recorded. A whopping 66 percent of self-reported criminals were initially approved, and 33,709 or 94 percent were granted renewals.
As it stands now, almost everyone in Washington is promoting amnesty for a population we know nothing about. Doesn’t anyone want to first find out the truth about the DACA process and the nature of these people before putting them ahead of the safety and security of Americans?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.