Today, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers brought to the country as children are applying for the Presidents new Dream Policy. In June, President Obama took matters into his own hands, announcing a program allowing DREAMers to receive a two-year deferment of deportation proceedings. These DREAMers can also apply for a work permit and later reapply for another deportation deferment.
On Tuesday, Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency is ready to process the flood of applications. He said,"USCIS has developed a rigorous review process for deferred action requests under guidelines issued by (Department of Homeland) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano. Childhood arrivals who meet the guidelines and whose cases are deferred will now be able to live without fear of removal, and be able to more fully contribute their talents to our great nation."
Meanwhile, anti-Latino Republican, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the program opens the door for fraud and unleashes a torrent of unemployed workers at a time when the country's 8.3% unemployment rate is already making life difficult for U.S. citizens and legal residents. Smith said, "President Obama and his administration routinely put partisan politics and illegal immigrants ahead of the rule of law and the American people. With this track record, it's looking more likely that even President Obama may lose his job in this economy when Americans go to the polls this November."
The Department of Homeland Security has not estimated how many people could participate in the new program. But the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that up to 1.7 million illegal immigrants could qualify. The application fee will be $465, and Mayorkas said that should cover the costs of hiring additional staff to process all the applications. DHS officials said a small number of cases can have their fees waived in extreme cases. Applicants must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15 (when the program was announced), entered the U.S. before reaching their 16th birthday, have clean criminal records and must have either graduated high school or be on that track.