By David North, September 6, 2013
Center for Immigration Studies

"Eligibility is not an issue."

The question was the extent to which unqualified illegal aliens were applying for DACA benefits.

The chilling answer came from an immigration researcher who had been studying the reaction of a group of illegal aliens to current and proposed legalization laws.

That person said Wednesday that the attitude in "the community" — an all-encompassing, warm, supportive term often used by immigration academics — was that the benefits were "out there" and there was no down side to applying and losing, but much to be gained if you were found qualified. Hence, the implication was, that everyone was applying — eligible or not.

It was, to me, an unusual view of immigration fraud from the point of the producer of the fraud, second hand, of course.

It came at a conference in Washington on what was to be learned from the IRCA legalization of 1986, which was the subject of a recent CIS study; the subject was not primarily fraud. The gathering of immigration researchers was conducted under the Chatham House Rule; in other words, it is OK to record what was said, but not the names or the identifications of the speakers.

The reaction of the "community" to the DACA rules is perfectly rational, if not admirable. Congress, at least in S.744, has decided that rejected applications for legalization will not be referred to law enforcement authorities even if fraud is evident. Further, it is generally believed that none of the handful of denied applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have led to prosecutions, so why shouldn't illegals take the posture described?

This was not the only reference to the prospect of fraud in the session held in the bowels of the Rayburn House Office Building.

One participant said that the advances in technology since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 suggest that there would be (even) more fraud if an amnesty bill gets thought this Congress than before.

"Lots of the needed documents can be produced on a home computer" was the comment.

Later, the conversation moved to the use of illicit Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) by illegal aliens in filing their income tax returns. (One can pad one's tax refund using the additional child tax credits by claiming non-existent or non-U.S.-dwelling children with phony ITINs).

"Even if the alien has not thought about using a bad ITIN in a tax return, if he goes to a notario he may easily be told of that possibility." The notario would, of course, get his cut of the extra refund.

Bearing in mind that the DACA review process does not routinely involve a face-to-face interview, these comments about the likelihood of document fraud were, to say the least, sobering.