Remember the amnesty memos? The leaked documents that showed officials in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency discussing an Obama administration end-run around Congress to implement an administrative amnesty for untold numbers of illegal immigrants? It turns out that USCIS wasn’t alone.
TAS has obtained a draft of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo that sources say eventually made it all the way up to Secretary Janet Napolitano talking about doing much the same thing — except in much greater technical detail and with more attention to the political ramifications. The idea is that the first phase of a program to legalize illegal immigrants could be implemented by DHS even in the absence of “comprehensive immigration reform.” Or, as the memo puts it, by “using administrative measures to sidestep the current state of Congressional gridlock and inertia.”
The memo emphasizes registering, fingerprinting, and screening the illegal immigrant population (“excluding individuals who pose a security risk”) but the administrative processes envisioned involve giving eligible illegal immigrants work permits and an interim process to “legalize those who qualify and intend to stay here.” The memo does acknowledge Congress would have to act to extend permanent lawful residence.
“If going forward with a larger registration program is not possible,” the document obtained by TAS says, “we could propose a narrowly-tailored registration program for individuals eligible for relief under the DREAM Act, AgJOBS, or other specifically designed subcategories.” The DREAM Act and AgJOBS are pieces of legislation — targeted amnesties — that Congress has not voted to pass.