The Corner

Gutiérrez: Migrant Kids Are Confused About DACA

Children coming into the United States are confused about whether they qualify for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to Representative Luis Gutiérrez  (D., Calif.), who said that criminal enterprises are enticing children with false promises of a “permiso.”

“I have 15-year-olds in my office today, who came to my office today, and you know what we told them? ‘You don’t qualify for DACA.’ Why? Because they came here four years ago, when they were 11, and they weren’t here by 2007,” Gutiérrez told reporters Friday evening as the House prepared to vote on a border supplemental bill and legislation freezing the DACA program.

Gutiérrez continued:

You had to be like seven or eight in 2007 to be 15 today to qualify for DACA. 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.’ 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.

That’s very similar to the analysis offered by Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and other immigration hawks at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Gutiérrez.

“Ninety-five percent said ‘we are coming  because we’ve been promised amnesty,’” Cruz said in early July. “‘We are coming because if we get here, we were told that we are allowed to stay, that we will have a permiso.’”

Gutiérrez denounced the freeze on the DACA program championed by Cruz and Representative Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), describing the legislation as a sop to “the very extreme, right-wing, xenophobic faction of their party.” 

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