No one is surprised but millions of Americans are disappointed and angry. The estimated number of work permits to be issued to alien DREAMers now stands at 2 million.
On June 15, when President Obama announced his unconstitutional executive order to remove certain aliens aged 16 to 30 from deportation, the White House established 800,000 as the target. But upon closer inspection, analysts predicted that the actual number would be 1.2 million. After still further study, 2 million will become quasi-permanent residents and receive the added bonus of being able to enter the workforce to compete head-to-head with nearly 20 million unemployed or underemployed Americans.
Another update: The beneficiaries of coveted work permits are no longer referred to as DREAMers but rather "Childhood Arrivals" and, accordingly, the title of the president's initiative is "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals."
According to an Aug. 7 Migration Policy Institute press release, the revised estimate reflects "the updated DHS guidelines that youths lacking a high school or GED degree would be eligible to apply for deferred action as long as they have re-enrolled by the date of their application." (The MPI press release is available online here: www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/FS24_deferredaction.pdf.)
From the DHS information, MPI estimates that 350,000 illegal immigrants (ages 16 and older) without a high school degree or GED (in other words, high school drop-outs) could be removed from the possibility of deportation and would also receive work authorization, the same is as if they were legal immigrants.
Even though DREAM advocates have said for years that the young students represent the nation's future doctors, scientists and astronauts, many of the current applicants can't fill out the paperwork on their own. Large numbers of volunteers are on hand to help them. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set aside $3 million for that purpose alone.
Aliens will be immune from deportation if they were (allegedly) brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, have completed — or are in the process of completing — high school or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be valid for two years even though record high unemployment cuts across all demographic sectors, including U.S.-born Hispanic Americans, about 35 percent of which are jobless.
There are, however, no set DHS guidelines for confirming any of the information the aliens present; the entire process is open to massive fraud. Aliens will not have to appear personally, so many of the conclusions DHS will make about eligibility will be based on good faith, rarely a dependable barometer.
The president's staggering audacity to unilaterally pardon millions of aliens and then reward them with highly coveted work permits shocks even the most hardened and cynical Capitol Hill observers. Obama, in a demonstration of absolute power, bypassed Congress, which has the sole responsibility for immigration legislation. In fact, since 2001 when it was first introduced, Congress under both Republican and Democratic control defeated the DREAM Act multiple times.
The childhood arrivals program has not had Congressional oversight hearings, cost analysis or impact studies, or any other form of debate that would have exposed its detrimental effect on Americans, especially the unemployed. The California Congressional contingent has been, as it always is, silent about the latest alien outrage even though the state has more "childhood arrivals" than any other. In nine counties that surround the San Francisco Bay Area, there are more Obama beneficiaries than in all of Arizona.
DHS started to distribute forms earlier this week. Officials were shocked at the numbers who waited. In Chicago, the New York Times reported lines longer than a mile — too many to handle in a single day.
One thing you can be sure of is that in the end, many more than 2 million will soon be in the job market competing with Americans for employment.
Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. He lives in Pittsburgh. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.