Executive Amnesty: What Could It Mean?

Barack Obama Should Have Listened to Barack Obama - ImmigrationReform.comThe spate of recent news articles suggesting that President Obama could, by executive action, provide protection against deportation for as many as five million illegal aliens points to an unprecedented political, economic and societal impact on the country. It is unclear where the projection of the number of possible beneficiaries comes from, but it is generally linked to illegal aliens who are family members of U.S. citizens or the illegal aliens who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that President Obama also imposed by executive action.

This proposal, if it materializes, is likely to be characterized as avoiding the separation of families through deportation. It will be accompanied by human interest stories of bright illegal alien students and hard working parents.

The implications of such a proposed action would, however, have an impact much beyond those illegal alien family members. Here’s why:

  • Just as the DACA program set off an unprecedented surge in illegal alien youth from Central America, a new and enormously expanded form of executive amnesty for their parents and other relatives is likely to induce a new wave of illegal aliens attempting to enter the country either to try to fabricate a claim in order to benefit from  the new amnesty or to wait for the next expansion of Obama’s largesse to illegal aliens.
  • There are many illegal aliens in the country already who chose not to apply for the DACA amnesty for reasons such as already having successfully established a fake identity as a legal resident. If they have family members who would benefit from the expanded amnesty program, there is likely to be a new surge in DACA applications – and, therefore, additional new applicants for the new amnesty.
  • If the new executive amnesty program offers protection for illegal aliens in mixed families, an incentive will have been created for illegal aliens to marry a U.S. citizen or legal resident to take advantage of the protection against deportation and the chance to get a work permit and Social Security number. This, in effect, would restore the defunct INA Section 245(i) provision that led to many illegal aliens entering fraudulent marriage contracts to gain legal status. It would also create an even greater incentive for illegal alien women to have a U.S.-born child.
  • What about family members of DACA recipients or legal U.S. residents who are outside the country? Will they too attempt to stream into the country to take advantage of the opportunity? Will the opportunity be given to deported illegal aliens to return if they have a U.S. citizen or DACA relative?

If the estimate of five million beneficiaries is based on a calculation of the number of illegal aliens already in the country who have DACA recipient beneficiaries or U.S. citizen or legal resident immediate family members, that estimate is vastly understated. The number would likely surge because of the potential for others now outside the country to pack their bags and head here, and for the multitude of illegal aliens already here who do not presently have a connection to a DACA recipient or to a U.S. citizen or resident to attempt to establish those links through fraud.

The proposed new executive amnesty will not just perpetuate the nation’s already unacceptable problem with illegal immigration and super-size it, it will have devastating impacts on unemployed Americans who will be further disadvantaged in looking for work by the new work permits handed out to amnesty beneficiaries. Conceding U.S. jobs to illegal aliens will also drive down wages for American workers – especially those looking for entry and other low-wage job opportunities. It will hurt the economy by giving those jobs to foreign workers who often are sending money out of the country to foreign relatives rather than spending it in the local economy where it is earned.

The societal implications are enormous in adding to the enrollment in taxpayer supported public schools where supplemental English programs drain off resources from native-English speakers and where enclaves of former and current illegal aliens impact social services and real estate markets. These impacts only scratch the surface, but they should make clear that there likely is no one in the country who would not be affected negatively.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Will the opportunity be given to deported illegal aliens to return if they have a U.S. citizen or DACA relative?
    ————-They basically just were given this right. Illegal aliens who took voluntary departure to Mexico are now being allowed to come back on the grounds that agents lied to them, threatened them, or denied them due process. While the order allowing them to come back currently applies only to those who were removed from Southern California, the government is ordering that advertisements be run in MEXICO to inform illegal aliens of this decision. Chances are good that it will apply broadly to illegal aliens removed from anywhere in the US.

  2. avatar

    Rather ironic that yesterday the president was urging businesses to give “raises” to workers. Ironic, and hypocritical, because the only thing that would cause wages to rise would be a tightening of the available labor supply. Instead, this president and all his supporters, and many Republicans, tried to pass a “reform” bill that was chock full of visas for foreign workers.

    Boo hoo says big business. We just can’t get enough Americans to work for minimum wage and no benefits. The answer to that should be pay more then, out of your ever increasing share of the economic pie. But our government lets in foreign workers, and wants to admit more. Meanwhile, for many of those jobs the companies pay no unemployment or SS matching payments. It’s an incentive NOT to hire Americans, all the way around. And liberals who are supposedly on the side of the working man support these visas.

    • avatar

      Not really……………it is completely false what you are saying….these illegals already have a job……………and the illegals have NO FAULT on our economy and the jobs being outsourced…………

      • avatar

        Where did I even use the word illegal? I was talking about big business bringing in workers on LEGAL visas because they don’t want to pay Americans a decent wage. That’s the reason that the US Chamber of Commerce was one of the main forces behind the Senate “immigration reform” bill. It would have greatly expanded worker visas at all levels. So if you’re going to tell me what I wrote is “completely false” you have to address what I said. Not what you made up.

        • avatar

          Leland I told you many times……………..you want no reform therefore you support the big business……as we speak it has been happening……………no reform…..then it will get worse for the legal system as well……………