Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson wrote “an open letter to the parents of children crossing our southwest border” in which he explained that the children do not qualify for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“The U.S. Government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also called ‘DACA,’ does not apply to a child who crosses the U.S. border illegally today, tomorrow or yesterday,” Johnson offered as the first reason for why “sending your child to travel illegally into the United States is not the solution,” per the DHS translation of the letter.
“To be eligible for DACA, a child must have been in the United States prior to June 15, 2007 – seven years ago,” he explained.
The Spanish language op-ed is an implicit admission from the administration that the parents view DACA — a program created by Obama in 2012 when he announced that the administration would not enforce immigration laws against children who would have benefited from the DREAM Act — as a reason to send their children to the country.
Johnson next turned his attention to Central Americans inspired by the immigration debate that has taken place in this Congress.
“Also, the immigration reform legislation now before Congress provides for an earned path to citizenship, but only for certain people who came into this country on or before December 31, 2011 – two and one half years ago,” he wrote. “So, let me be clear: There is no path to deferred action or citizenship, or one being contemplated by Congress, for a child who crosses our border illegally today.”
Representative Luis Gutierrez (D., Calif.) surmised that criminal organizations are misleading Central American families about the nature of DACA in order to convince them to hire the gangs to transport the kids.
“Look, here’s what I do believe happened: the criminal enterprises that exist in El Salvador and Guatemala said, ’Hm, let’s confuse the people. Let’s use lies and falsehoods to entice people to pay me $6,000 under a false premise and a false promise,’” Gutierrez told reporters last week. “I mean, if I ask you for $6,000 just to get you to the border, you might say, ‘maybe;’ if I say, ‘hey, by the way, once I get you there you get permiso, a permit, it’s a very different thing. And what they’re talking about — a permit is really, I believe is, you’re required to show up under the law. I think that’s what they’re talking about. I don’t know, I’m not a part of the criminal enterprise, but you can imagine. So do I think that there is some of that going on? I think there is some of that going on.”