'Clean' DACA a dirty deal for taxpayers and the nation

"Dreamers", undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and others
gather on the steps of Borough Hall in St. George to call for a "clean" DREAM Act with no
strings attached. (Staten Island Advance/Rachel Shapiro))

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The massive influx of illegal immigrants has been an unmitigated disaster both for the security of the United States and the pocketbooks of its already overburdened taxpayers.

According to a 2017 comprehensive report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a non-partisan, public-interest group, there are currently an estimated 12.5 million foreign nationals living in the United States unlawfully. These illegal aliens cost taxpayers across the nation a whopping $116 billion each year, a figure that takes into account the small amount of taxes they pay. Put another way, governments at the federal, state and local level are shelling out approximately $8,075 each year per illegal alien family member.

The financial consequences transcend virtually every aspect of American life and include expenditures for medical treatment, education, welfare and justice enforcement. The individual states, for example, spend $44.4 billion every year to educate children of illegal aliens.

This is a mockery of generations of lawful immigrants who played by the rules, came here legally, and thereafter pulled themselves up by their bootstraps without the benefit of government handouts, anti-discrimination laws or regulations accommodating their native languages. Those law-abiding newcomers were indeed the backbone of America.

Criminal trespassers

Today's law-breaking invaders, by contrast, are imposters, unworthy of the title "immigrant" because they are, in reality, criminal trespassers. This despite politically correct efforts to blur reality by calling them "undocumented immigrants." To suggest that they be allowed to remain here lawfully or, even worse, be given a pathway to citizenship, not only rewards their wrongdoing but encourages others to do the same thing. It also flips the entire purpose of the criminal justice system upside down, sort of like rewarding a convicted burglar with the key to your house.

If the financially suffocating consequences of illegal immigration, and the derogation of the rule of law, weren't bad enough, the rampant disregard of federal statutes, aided and abetted by sanctuary cities, constitute a major security threat to the United States. The 9/11 Commission underscored this very point, warning that terrorists exploit weaknesses in our immigration system to "conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack."

And it doesn't stop there. Lax immigration enforcement, including ineffective border security, also renders the United States vulnerable to invading drug dealers, human traffickers and violent gangs.

Obama's unlawful order

Against these realities comes an effort, spearheaded by Congressional Democrats, to legislate what has been a policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or, more popularly, DACA. Originating in a July 15, 2012, order by the Obama administration, it deferred any deportation action for certain illegal aliens who came to the United States before the age of 16, and made them eligible to request employment authorization.

Two years later, President Obama's attempt to expand DACA's scope and criteria was invalidated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on the grounds that it intruded on powers reserved for Congress under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The ruling casts into doubt the legality of Obama's initial DACA order, an issue that wasn't before the court. On Sept. 5, the Trump administration rescinded DACA, giving Congress six months to devise a substitute before protections for its approximately 800,000 beneficiaries are phased out.

There's no doubt that these "Dreamers," as they've come to be called, are a sympathetic class of individuals who bear no personal responsibility for their illegal status in this country. Yet, if congressional legislation is to accord them DACA protections, the nation's interest requires that it contain additional measures to crack down on illegal immigration in ways that are truly meaningful.

Securing the border

These include, at a minimum, precluding Dreamers from becoming predicates for their illegal-alien relatives to remain in the country, financing a wall to truly safeguard the border, and mandating nationwide use of e-verify, a system by which businesses can ascertain whether prospective employees are eligible to work in the United States.

An increasing number of nauseating, in-your-face Dreamers have been publicly demanding that Congress pass a "Clean" DACA, or Dream Act, benefiting them, but doing nothing to stem illegal immigration, or prevent a continuing flow of new Dreamers seeking similar relief. Aside from their gall in making demands in the first place, their continual references to immigration enforcement as "tearing families apart" is absurd. Illegal-alien families wouldn't be in any such danger if they hadn't calculatedly violated federal law by coming here. Similarly, their oft-heard references to America's "broken immigration laws" ignore the fact that it's the illegal aliens themselves who broke them.

As a nation founded on the Rule of Law, the United States has not only the right, but the duty, to secure its borders. Any DACA or Dream Act that's enacted must proceed from that premise. The "clean," no-strings-attached legislation that Dreamers and Congressional Democrats are demanding would be nothing more than another dirty deal for America and its taxpayers.