Head of Immigration-Enforcement Union Warns House DREAM Act Could Set Precedent

by Sterling Beard

In a letter to 25 House Republicans yesterday, the president of the union that represents 12,000 immigration agents warned Republican lawmakers that a DREAM Act–style bill from their chamber could set a problematic precedent of naturalizing illegal immigrants.

Kenneth Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, said the House Republicans’ version of the DREAM Act “could establish a precedent that would expand birthright citizenship in the future to apply to any new arrivals (and, by extension, their relatives) who claim they came here at a certain age,” which would be “an extraordinary magnet for unlawful entry and overstays” and “a massive hole in future enforcement.”

“Put bluntly: what does your legislation proscribe [sic] will happen to DREAM Act-eligible individuals, and their relatives, who inevitably arrive in future months and years?” Palinkas asked. “If it is the position of the Judiciary Committee that immigration law should be applied differently, or not at all, to people who simply claim to have entered at a certain age, will this then become the permanent immigration policy of the USA?”

Palinkas’s letter extensively documents the group’s concerns about the Obama administration’s past infidelities to immigration law, and asks how Republicans planned to stop the administration from issuing non-enforcement orders in the future or exempting future illegal immigrants from enforcement. They have “not heard any solutions proposed to any of these concerns,” Palinkas writes.

Palinkas cited a report from his group arguing that President Obama’s unilateral implementation of elements of the DREAM Act is not being applied to “children in schools, but instead to adult inmates in jails,” who “take advantage of the Administration’s DREAM Act orders to evade arrest and deportation.”

“The current culture of the Obama Administration and the agency USCIS [sic] perceives illegal aliens as ‘customers’ while the agency seeks high approval rates as its ultimate goal,” Palinkas wrote, complaining that the agency has “been turned into an approval machine.”

This is not the first time that the Council has opposed immigration legislation: The group opposed the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the comprehensive Senate bill back in June on the basis that it would reward illegal immigrants, “more so than the [previous version of the] bill proposed by the Gang of Eight.”  

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