Donna Anderson
May 20, 2013

According to Center for Immigration Studies, if the amnesty bill proposed by Senators Schumer and Rubio should pass as it stands, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants with criminal convictions will automatically become full-fledged United States citizens. Who knows? One of them might become your neighbor.

Jessica Vaugh, Center for Immigration Studies, examined the most recent data from ICE’s Secure Communities program. This program alerts ICE when a non-citizen with a record in the DHS databases is arrested by a local or federal law enforcement agency.

“I found that nearly half of the criminal aliens who were removed under this program in the last six months are offenders who would qualify for legal status under the terms of the Schumer-Rubio bill. This amnesty would significantly curtail ICE’s interior enforcement programs, benefiting tens of thousands of criminal aliens.”

“In the most recent six-month reporting period (October 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013), ICE removed 38,547 aliens who had been identified as a result of an arrest by another agency. Of these, 45 percent (17,208) were lesser offenders who would be eligible for legalization under the Schumer-Rubio amnesty. These were classified as Level 3 offenders in ICE parlance (convicted of fewer than three misdemeanors on separate occasions), fugitives, prior removals and returns, illegal border-crossers, and over-stayers and visa violators.”

Vaughn also found that, of the total, 55 percent (21,339) were convicted of a felony or at least three misdemeanors, categorized as Level 1 and Level 2. The majority of these offenders would still be deportable, unless the Homeland Security Secretary waived their ineligibility for amnesty, which is entirely allowable under the bill.

Under the Schumer-Rubio bill, the DHS can waive ineligibility if the applicant was convicted when he was under the age of 18, or if he was originally admited as a refugee or someone seeking asylum. But it can also be waived if the offender was convicted under state laws aimed at immigration crimes, “such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, harboring illegal aliens, or identity theft, and anyone convicted after pleading ‘no contest’ instead of ‘guilty.’”

Vaughn also says the bill includes provisions that would require ICE to offer a bond hearing every 90 days to allow higher level offenders the opportunity to challenge deportation in court, and even aggravated felons would be eligible for options such as home confinement instead of actually going to jail.

According to Vaughn, Texas has the highest number of convicted criminals who would be granted amnesty instead of deported, followed by California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York, Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Illinois.

Not only are these people illegal aliens, they’ve also committed violent crimes while they’ve been hiding out in our country. Kenneth Palinkas, the president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, issued a statement today explaining why his union has officially decided to oppose the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill.

“The USCIS Council was not consulted in the crafting of the Gang of Eight’s legislation,” Palinkas writes. “Instead, the legislation was written with special interests, producing a bill that makes the current system worse, not better. S. 744 will damage public safety and national security and should be opposed by lawmakers.”

And all those interviews, miles of paperwork and astronomical fees that Sanderson and Silber think will block the “Pathway to Citizenship?” Not to worry. Palinkas says the Department for Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are already waiving fees for illegal aliens applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Currently there’s a 95 percent approval rating, so it would appear that the requirements to become a legal, law-abiding U.S. citizen really aren’t all that steep, after all.

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