As the sitting vice president when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was dreamt up, it was expected that Joe Biden if elected president would act quickly on his pledge to revive DACA. Just how quickly? Well, according to Ron Klain, President-elect Biden’s incoming Chief of Staff, “we’re going to protect Dreamers” on the first day in office.
Before addressing the implications of prioritizing amnesty for almost 700,000 illegal aliens, it is important clear up the muddled linguistic mess created by mass immigration advocates over the last decade. Unlike the difference between Kleenex and tissue, there is a substantive distinction between DACA and so-called Dreamers.
According to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as of June 30, almost 670,000 illegal aliens are beneficiaries of DACA or have a renewal pending. However, when amnesty proponents (and their supports in the media) refer to “Dreamers,” they mean the 2.7 million illegal aliens whom would be placed on a pathway to citizenship if any version of the DREAM Act were to pass. And that was the figure cited when the bill was introduced in 2017, so it could be significantly higher today.
Is 3 million illegal aliens really a significantly large number? First, consider that a moment ago it was “just” 670,000 illegal aliens being given the benefits of citizenship. Second, Biden et al have not hidden the fact their agenda envisions far more consequential actions.
Candidate Biden promised to seek out all legal options to give sanctuary to the parents of Dreamers, a move that undermines his argument that amnesty is warranted because illegal aliens who arrived as minors came to the U.S. “through no fault of their own.” Last spring, he publicly stated a desire to resurrect the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which would have granted protection to 5 million illegal aliens had it not been found unconstitutional.
Nope, it does not end there. Because a President Biden would need Congress to be complicit in rewarding millions of illegal aliens with legitimacy of citizenship, the plan is to do everything short of that. Presently, illegal aliens can receive tuition assistance from private institutions, but they are not eligible for Federal financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants.
As outlined in his post-high school education plan, Biden would like to allow this cohort of illegal aliens to access Pell Grants, which are likely to be in greater demand given financial hits taken by many American families. In addition, he aims to make two years of community college tuition-free to them or would allow them “to use these funds to pursue training programs that have a track record of participants completing their programs and securing good jobs.” These benefits would also “be available to adults who never had the chance to pursue additional education beyond high school or who need to learn new skills.” However, it is questionable as to whether a president has the executive authority to make such changes, and doing so is certain to be challenged from the outset.
At a time when many, particularly smaller, colleges and universities are struggling to keep their doors open, the former vice president wants to place an additional financial burden on academic institutions to educate hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. What do low-income American families feel about having to compete for Pell Grants with adults (the average age of a DACA recipient is 26.5 years) who are not lawfully in the country?
DACA is and has always been the vehicle in which to drive toward much larger and expansive goals to normalize illegal immigrants. There is little that can be done to prevent President-elect Biden from taking executive action on his first day to protect millions of illegal immigrants. But there is a lot which can be done afterward, including legal challenges from federal and state officials. There is even more that must be done to prevent his administration from riding roughshod over American immigration laws.