The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘Knows No Other Country’?

Sen. Grassley and several Republican colleagues have unveiled legislation modeled on the White House immigration framework. It is expected to be offered as an amendment, perhaps as early as today, to the shell bill that Mitch McConnell has put forth as the Senate vehicle for immigration.

The fact sheet describing the bill’s high points lists criteria to qualify for the amnesty, including arrival in the U.S. before age 16. It adds: “Same standards used by the Obama Administration for DACA.”

As I ask in my piece on the home page today, why would an expansion of the amnesty beyond those who already have DACA work permits be based on the same criteria as Obama’s unlawful program, itself modeled on a bill Dick Durbin wrote in 2001? Most important, why should the age cutoff be as high as 16? As I wrote back in 2010:

If the point is to provide amnesty to those whose identity was formed here, then you’d need a much lower age cutoff. I have a 15-year-old, and if I took him to live illegally in Mexico (and living illegally is a lot harder to do there than here), he would always remain, psychologically, an American, because his identity is already formed. The Roman Catholic Church and English common law set the age of reason at seven. That, combined with a requirement of at least ten years’ continuous residence here, seems like a much more defensible place to draw the line.

Neither the White House/Grassley bill nor any of the other DACA-plus amnesty plans offers any justification for including people who came as teenagers in an amnesty intended for people “who know no other country.”

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