In keeping with the Republican orthodoxy that nothing good ever comes from the government, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren suggested in an Aug. 15 blog that young undocumented immigrants who apply for relief under the Obama administration’s new deferred action program are giving the government all the information needed to deport them in the future.
Van Susteren also suggested that any immigration lawyer who advises a client to apply for the program is committing, “legal malpractice.”
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After announcing the program in June, the Obama administration opted to operate the program through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) -- a division the Homeland Security Department that oversees visas and other legal immigration matters -- in part to avoid the appearance that the program is some sort of immigrant enforcement activity in disguise. However, USCIS officials have confirmed that applications filed by individuals who are not eligible for the program and represent a high-priority deportation target – such as an undocumented immigrant who has a serious criminal record or represents a threat to public safety or a national security – may be referred to Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) for possible removal. ICE is the immigration law-enforcement division of homeland security.
Despite the risk that a sub-set of young undocumented immigrants may face in applying for the deferred action program, most of the nation’s leading immigrant advocacy organizations have set up, staffed and organized application workshops and otherwise endorsed the Obama team’s approach in the absence of legislative action. Under the program many as 1.7 million young undocumented immigrants may be eligible two year, renewable relief from deportation worries and a work permit allowing them to legally hold a job in the United States.
In some states, the deferred action program may also render young undocumented immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition rates.
USCIS began accepting applications for the deferred action program last week. There have been no reported deportations connected to the program.
Warnings similar to Van Susteren’s surface each year at tax time when an unknown number of undocumented immigrants file federal income tax returns and, in some cases, pay tax bills or receive tax refunds.
Such tax returns were used to prove the length of time some undocumented immigrants had already lived in the country when the Regan administration created a path to citizenship in 1986 and are, in some cases, also supporting applications filed by young people applying for the new deferred action program.
Van Susteren is the host of Fox News' 'On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.’ She is also a former criminal defense and civil trial lawyer.