Friday, April 26, 2013

99.5% of Deferred Action Applications Approved

Would Same Rubber-stamping Occur Under Senate Amnesty Bill?

Statistics from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service indicate that the agency is rubber-stamping the applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They report that 99.5% of applicants have been approved, which appears to be well above approval rates for other legal programs, which have fraud and rejection rates in the double digits. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) predicts the level of fraud could be significant in what is considered a test run for the much larger amnesty included in the Schumer-Rubio immigration bill.

In the first six weeks of the DACA program, only one out of every 5,000 applications was denied. These numbers are quite worrisome, considering prior CIS research estimated that one quarter of the applications during the 1986 amnesty were fraudulent. The 1986 program had an even tougher application review process that included routine face to face interviews. The question is whether such a limited review process would also occur under the sweeping amnesty bill currently being considered by Congress.

"USCIS should answer public concerns that DACA applicants are not required to prove their claims of eligibility, and that the agency is taking proper care to vet applicants so that unqualified and possibly dangerous individuals will be screened out and removed," stated Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. "Moreover, given renewed concern over the national security risks of mass immigration, no large-scale legalization program should be implemented until a thorough quality control and fraud assessment of DACA has been conducted. The stakes for public safety are just too high for us to rush into sweeping reforms."

A CIS Backgrounder illustrating the lessons learned from 1986 amnesty can be found here

View the text, summary and status of the Sen. Schumer and Sen. Rubio amnesty bill, S.744: here

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820,  Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076.  Email: Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185,  The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.  The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

Immigration Law Hangs on Securing Rugged Nogales Frontier

The daily struggle along the rugged Nogales frontier, which the U.S. government ranks as the highest-risk sector of its border with Mexico -- a region where 120,000 people were caught crossing last year -- points to a security challenge central to enactment of any new immigration law. Senators are advancing a bill requiring that the Border Patrol show "90 percent effectiveness" in securing this and other high-risk border sectors -- areas where more than 30,000 people a year are caught crossing -- before legal rights are conferred on the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

The concern about border security, which Republican leaders call essential to a broader agreement on a path to citizenship for the undocumented, visas for guest-workers and farmworkers, and other elements of an immigration law rewrite, has only heightened following the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings. Two brothers whose family legally emigrated from Kyrgyzstan to the U.S. a decade ago and sought political asylum have been identified as the culprits.

"That's the No. 1 criterion," said Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican elected in 2010. "We want to treat the eventual problem with real humanity, but before that, we really do have to secure our border, not just because of the immigration issue, but also just for national security."

In the House, where the immigration bill faces long odds, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, calls border security "very crucial" to any plan -- "exactly how it works in conjunction with the rest of immigration reform, it has yet to be decided," he said.

Legislation filed by a bipartisan group of eight senators demands a border-control plan with fencing and surveillance assuring that 90 percent of those who attempt to cross into the U.S. are apprehended or turned back to Mexico in these high-risk sectors before other steps are taken on immigration.
Three Sectors

There are three such sectors: The area south of Tucson, Arizona, that includes Nogales; the border near Laredo, Texas; and Rio Grande River valley near Brownsville. The effectiveness of security last year, according to a Government Accountability Office report based on Border Patrol data, has ranged from 87 percent in the Tucson sector to 71 percent along the Rio Grande.

Senators say this makes the border-security in their plan obtainable, enabling the government then to move forward with citizenship for the undocumented and other measures.

"The border-security triggers are strong, but achievable," Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who has visited the Arizona border in negotiations over the bill, said at an April 18 Washington news conference announcing it.

In the desert region south of Tucson that alternates between rocky gulches and 7,000-foot peaks, part of a 262-mile stretch of an almost 2,000-mile-long border, the challenge is spelled out in numbers: In this sector alone, 124,363 people were caught trying to cross into the U.S. in 2011, the GAO reports. That's close to one-third of the 328,000 apprehensions along the entire Southwest U.S. border. Another 43,539 were turned back; an estimated 25,376 got away.

Manuel Padilla Jr., chief patrol agent of the Tucson sector, said calculating the effectiveness rate, which only applies in the border areas between ports of entry, is "not an exact science."

"In the urban areas, we have a very high effectiveness rate," he said. "Once you start getting into the rural environment, that's where it gets more difficult."

On Interstate 19 at the "19 Charlie" checkpoint between Tucson and Nogales -- a white, warehouse-sized, flood-lit canopy crossing three lanes about 20 miles north of the border -- agents with K-9 dogs scan a line of cars for suspicious behavior. They target shuttle vans, pulling over many.

"Every day, we have a seizure of some kind at this checkpoint," said Leslie Lawson, patrol agent in charge of the Nogales station.

Detection Devices

In the desert surrounding the checkpoint, cameras and infrared scopes detect illicit movement. In the days after footprints and other evidence of illegal crossing are discovered, agents work to match up the information with the immigrants they apprehend to determine their effectiveness rate.

Officials in Texas's Rio Grande valley haven't had as much success in stemming illegal entries. While they've raised the sector's effectiveness rate from 55 percent in 2006, it remains the major area where migrants are most likely to successfully enter the U.S., the GAO reported.

The calculation of how many may be getting away, compared with how many are caught or turned back, is the metric that will determine when any new immigration law will enable the undocumented already in the U.S. to start seeking legal status and eventually, a decade later, citizenship.

"It is doable," said Christopher Wilson, an associate with the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute. "When I first saw the 90 percent, that sounded really high to me, but the reality is, it is within reach."

Divided Community

It isn't only desert that toughens the task.

The Tucson-sector border slices through urbanized Nogales, where homes in Mexico and the U.S. stand a few dozen feet apart. In Nogales, 2.5 miles of rust-colored bollard fencing with iron posts sunk several feet deep divide a community in two. Even the sewage pipes must be patrolled, and tunnels filled.

Lawson, spotting a look-out on a Mexican hilltop, predicts a crossing soon. Within the hour, her truck radio crackles with an apprehension.

"It is a long, slow process, and it is not going to happen overnight," Lawson said of the battle against illegal immigration. "As we're gaining control in the urban areas, they move to the flanks."

Outside Nogales, the border dips and rises over the rolling landscape invisible to strategically placed cameras. To the west, in the Tumacacori Highlands, mountain peaks block vehicular access, limiting access even by all-terrain vehicles or horses and forcing agents to hike in on foot. Padilla said it will require an infusion of technology such as sensors and cameras to enhance enforcement in these outposts.

Barrier Limits

There's a practical limit to barriers that can be built. It costs $6 million a mile to fence flat land, Lawson said, and more on rougher terrain. "Is a 15-foot fence on top of a 5,000- foot peak going to make a difference?" she asked.

Overall, attempted border crossings are down since 2000, when 1.68 million people were apprehended on the Southwest border, according to the U.S Customs and Border Protection agency. Last year, the number was about 357,000.

In the last 20 years, the U.S. has boosted the number of agents along the Mexican border from just under 3,500 in 1993 to more than 18,500 in 2012, according to the agency. In the Tucson sector, that contingent has grown from 287 to 4,176.

"If you look at the Tucson sector right now, the achievements we've made are indisputable," Padilla said. "Are we finished? No, we still have work to do."


No comments:

Post a Comment