The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Thursday that thousands of illegal immigrants granted temporary amnesty through President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will also get permanent U.S. citizenship thanks to how DHS is administering the program.
When Obama first announced his DACA program back in June 2012, he told the American people, "Now, let's be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship."
However, as the Center for Immigration Studies pointed out just months after Obama's announcement, a loophole in immigration law created the possibility that DHS could use the DACA program to put thousands of DACA recipients on a path to citizenship.
Here is how the loophole works: Once an illegal immigrant has been given deferred action status through Obama's DACA program, he or she can then apply for "advance parole" status, a status normally given to lawful immigrants who have a pending green card application but can also show a pressing need to travel abroad that "serves the public interest."
All a DACA recipient needs to do is invent a reason to travel back home (perhaps an ailing grandmother), apply for advance parole, and then reenter the country legally. Once they have reentered the country legally with their new advance parole status they are no longer an illegal immigrant and can now begin a path to citizenship just like any legal immigrant.
The DHS confirmed in a conference call with House Judiciary Committee staff Thursday that 4,566 DACA recipients have been granted advance parole status out of the 6,400 that have applied. That is an 88 percent success rate.
More troubling, when the Obama administration begins implementing their new DACA expansion program this year, they will allow DACA applicants to apply for advance parole status at the same time.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Friday demanding that DHS stop granting advance parole to all DACA recipients.