Senate Democrats led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) shut down the government last weekend, ostensibly in defense of “Dreamers”—illegal aliens who arrived in the United States as minors. The Democrats, in effect, placed the progressive political project “above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” as a White House press release put it.
This new and virtuous Schumer of 2018 stands in stark contrast with the Schumer of 2013, who vehemently denounced those who would “risk default for the nation” by shutting down the government over immigration. He called such obstinance the “politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis.” But that was before Trump and #TheResistance.
Just who are these “Dreamers” the Democrats are using as political props? The name comes from the proposed 2001 Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which has failed to pass repeatedly over the years. By most estimates, some 3.6 million illegal immigrants came to this country as children. Of that number, around 800,000 registered under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Americans have been fed a line that Dreamers are among our “best and brightest,” but the reality is much different. While DACA and Dreamer are used interchangeably, the distinction makes a difference. DACA recipients are a subset of the Dreamers, and the soldiers and scholars among the DACA class are an even smaller subset. More importantly, even though the shutdown fight was reportedly about DACA, the Democrats aren’t simply seeking amnesty for those 800,000 program participants. They want all 3.6 million Dreamers included in the deal. A look at the bigger picture of what this might mean is sobering.
In Arizona, DACA recipient Francisco Rios-Covarrubias, 30, was arrested after offering a 3-year-old girl for sex to a man who notified authorities, the child was discovered bound with duct tape and showed signs of repeated sexual abuse.
In Washington, DACA recipient Salvador Diaz-Garcia, 23, faced assault and rape charges after he allegedly attacked “[a] woman, breaking her jaw and nose, and ripping half of her ear off.”
In Texas, Dreamer Hermilo Moralez, 19, brutally murdered teenager Joshua Wilkerson. Wilkerson gave Moralez a ride home from school, when the DACA recipient punched Wilkerson in the face, “causing Wilkerson instant blindness,” and then “kneed him so hard that it forced Wilkerson’s spleen into his spine.” Moralez proceeded to beat Wilkerson “with a curtain rod,” then purchased fuel, drove out to a field, “doused Wilkerson’s tied-up dead body in gasoline, and set the teen on fire.”
The litany of DACA recipient-involved crimes is much longer than progressives would like to admit. So instead they present the public with a hagiographic portrait of illegal aliens. At the same time, race-based activist organizations recruit Dreamers to undermine our laws. The fact remains that noncitizens commit a disproportionate amount of crime and are overrepresented in jails and prisons, for their tiny demographic size.
Still, the cost of amnesty remains a question. To that point, a report published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the fiscal implications of amnesty for all DACA recipients provides some insight. It’s important to note the CBO calculated these figures on the assumption that total DACA recipients numbered around 2.5 million.
According to the CBO, 20,000 DACA recipients would immediately be eligible for federal benefits following amnesty, namely the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and an additional 280,000 would be on food stamps over time. The fiscal burden of just 280,000 of all DACA recipients on food stamps would amount to an additional $2.25 billion on top of the $116 billion annual tab.
The CBO estimates that DACA recipients would impose an additional $26.8 billion burden on taxpayers. The CBO also notes that virtually all DACA recipients would be eligible to apply for and receive Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status within five years post-amnesty. The full 3.6 million DACA recipients would “cause around 80,000 more people to receive LPR status,” as relatives of the amnestied DACA recipients—this familiar tune is chain immigration.
Why is the cost so high? Again, the soldiers and scholars among the DACA-eligible population are far from representative of the whole. For the whole number of DACA recipients, Dreamers included: 49 percent have just a high school education, 46 percent have only basic English skills, 24 percent are functionally illiterate, and more than 2,000 so far have had their DACA status revoked due to criminal activity. The price of subsidizing mass immigration and amnesty is high, but the cost of what we stand to lose beyond that over time—the very salience and substance of American national identity—is incalculable. As a potential resolution to the immigration debate appears on the horizon, the American community needs to call on Congress to pass legislation that will, for once, secure America’s future for its citizens first.