Are immigrant activists lying to DREAMers?

As a follow-up to my previous article about Democrats essentially misleading DREAMers by giving them false hope of legalization, I have been asked to discuss if immigration activists might also by lying to them.  The dozens of activist organizations fighting for legalization of immigrants in the United States illegally are active both online, on social media, and in public.  They have a megaphone and are screaming for legalizing anyone who is currently without papers (though some groups are even fighting to eliminate the border between US and Mexico to allow free movement).  It must also be pointed out that the efforts of the activists have had some impact.  The DACA program has helped nearly a million DREAMers and for all practical purposes, if you are in the United States illegally and stay out of trouble, no one will bother you (an estimated 12 million undocumented aliens live like everyone else) and you can even work illegally.  In fact, most undocumented immigrants can even get free money from the IRS when they file their tax returns.  In addition, if you have US-born children, and if you get paid under the table, you can even pretend to be poor and actually put your kids on welfare.

At the same time, exactly like the politicians, the activists too start to mislead their followers because without them, they do not have a job (indeed, there are a few volunteers but a lot of activists are employees of various organizations).  The attorneys who are campaigning on behalf of illegal immigrants hope to get a lot of fees when they help them do the paperwork.  And many activists are also hoping that either they will keep their jobs as activists for a long time or get into politics eventually.  So, yes, we do need folks to do the dirty job of activism, what they are not doing is to tell you that an amnesty is unrealistic any time soon.  By not doing so honestly, they are stopping you from thinking clearly and evaluating other options.  In other words, just be aware that attorneys, activists, and politicians have their own agendas and they are not necessarily watching out for your best interest.  Only you can do that.

Are Democrats lying to DREAMers?

I have heard from a lot of DREAMers who are hearing from experts that the probability for their legalization is just about 20% but the Democrats running for president are promising a path to citizenship.  Obviously we all like to be optimistic about the future but ignoring reality is stupid.  As I pointed out in this post here it is very unlikely that there will be some kind of comprehensive immigration reform.  If DACA is not declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the most a Democrat president can do is to renew DACA for another four years.  As expected, the House will remain under GOP control while the Senate will remain split.  In other words, mostly gridlock in Washington, along the lines of how it played out under President Obama.

Obviously, totally unexpected things can happen.  It is likely that miraculously Democrats win everything (which they did in 2008 but still did not pass CIR) but it is very unlikely.  Unfortunately, all the Democratic candidates in their desperate quest to win the White House are telling what DREAMers want to hear without telling them that the reality on the ground is going to be a lot different.  The conclusion is that if you are a smart DREAMer who has better plans for the future than working in low-end jobs for the rest of your life and living illegally, it is a good time to evaluate other options.  The best one is to use the loophole of advance parole to clear your EWI, marry a US citizen, and adjust status.  Other options include migrating legally to other countries, particularly Canada.

Can President Trump deport DACA approved DREAMers?

In addition to discussing possible scenarios for the future of DACA and DREAMers who have been approved, a lot of you have written to ask if DACA approved DREAMers can be deported were Donald Trump to become the US president starting January 2017.  I am glad to hear that smart DREAMers are planning their future right now rather than scrambling when the decision is made.

So here are the facts.  Even if Donald Trump were to be elected president in 2016, it is unlikely that Republicans will have filibuster proof majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  In other words, he will not be able to accomplish everything that he is promising to do.  Having said that even if a Democrat were elected president, they would not be able to pass a comprehensive immigration reform either and the best that can be hoped for is an extension of DACA (in case the Supreme Court does not declare it unconstitutional).

We also know that President Barack Obama has done everything that he could possibly do to help those immigrants who are in the United States illegally.  In addition, he instructed Border Patrol to look the other way making it easier to cross the Mexican border illegally.  Plus, if you did not make trouble, he also left you alone with absolutely no prosecution for identity theft or unauthorized work or using fraudulent documents.  Despite this lack of enforcement of American immigration laws, a small number of immigrants were deported but mostly turned away at the Mexican border.  Stopping anyone from entering the country without proper papers and deporting those who are here without authorization are the duties of the US president and he is bound by law to do so.  The president does not need any further approval to do so.

So if Donald Trump wins the presidency, he can simply cancel DACA (in which case, you will lose your protected status and authorization to work immediately, though, he might give a few days or weeks to leave voluntarily) and then start enforcing the immigration laws to deport anyone who does not have the right documents.  DACA approved DREAMers are going to be easy targets because they have provided information about them along with their fingerprints to the Federal government.  So it is true that there are no resources to deport 13 million folks, Trump can use existing funds to deport a lot more than Obama has done.  For this, he already has the legal authority and funds.  Exactly what will happen and how it will all play out will be known only in the future, but DREAMers who want to have a more predictable life and live with respect must start to plan ahead.

What will happen to DREAMers in 2016?

One of the things we here at Dreamers Are Us take pride in is to provide unbiased advice unlike attorneys (who are fishing for clients who will pay no matter the outcome) and immigration activists (who do a great job putting themselves out there but put fighting ahead of common sense).  Since illegal immigration has become the defining issue for the 2016 presidential elections, many DACA approved and those who have not even applied are writing to us asking what lies ahead.  Here is our honest assessment of the situation and prediction of the future:

Election of a GOP president:  Except for Jeb Bush, no other candidate is proposing any relief for those immigrants illegally present in the United States.  Even if he were to become president, there are enough Republican politicians in both houses who oppose his plan to kill it.  While it is looking less likely that Bush will be the candidate, if he does become president, he is at least not likely to kill DACA.  In other words, DACA approved DREAMers get 4 more years.

Election of a Democratic president:  While all Democrats support legalization of all undocumented aliens, nothing will happen unless they control both houses of Congress (and even then there is no guarantee because when they did so in the past, immigration reform was a low priority).  There is absolutely zero probability that the House will be controlled by Democrats.  In other words, the way Obama has been unsuccessful so far, a Democratic president in 2016 will be unable to do anything beyond extending DACA for another four years.

Future of DACA in courts:  Lawsuits targeting DACA (and DAPA) are making their way through the courts and eventually will reach the Supreme Court.  Legal experts believe that DACA will be declared unconstitutional.  If that were to happen, even a Democratic president will be helpless.  At that point, anyone with DACA approval will revert to being illegally present in the United States and while they will keep their social security number, they will no longer be eligible to work legally.  Most law abiding companies will terminate their jobs immediately.

So what should DREAMers do?  At this time it seems that illegal immigration has become such a toxic topic that any action to help them is highly unlikely for at least next 10 years.  While even President Donald Trump may not deport everyone, there is a possibility that he and other Republicans can make life difficult by enforcing eVerify and targeting employers.  So if you are a DREAMer who is willing to live under uncertainty and without full rights for at least a decade or two, it is fine to keep living illegally in the United States.  However, if you are a smart DREAMer with hopes for a positive future (particularly if you are educated), you may want to build a life in another country where you will have full rights and can build a solid career.

Expanded DACA dead for now

When President Barack Obama expanded the eligibility of DACA for many more DREAMers, the program was put on hold by a judge after several states sued arguing that he broke US laws.  It turns out that Obama might as well have acted illegally because an appeals court has rejected his argument that the program should be allowed to move forward while the lawsuit makes it way through the courts.  For all practical purposes, what it means is that the expanded DACA will most likely not happen because this case will reach all the way to Supreme Court and that may take several years.  By that Obama will be out of office, or even if he wins, the decision will come towards the end of his presidency.  At that point it may not make any sense to apply since there is no guarantee that the program will be kept by the next president.

Having said that, those who were eligible under the 2012 DACA program are still eligible and can go on with their lives, at least till the next president takes office in January, 2017.  It is hard to predict what will happen but many such programs continue indefinitely and that is what might end up happening in this case as well.  As long as you don't break other laws, you will be able to renew this status.
Another sign of home is that if Hillary Clinton becomes president, then this program will definitely continue and she has even promised citizenship to everyone who comes to America, even illegally.  If Jeb Bush becomes president being the most likely Republican candidate, he too will do the same because his wife is a Mexican and he is very sympathetic towards the undocumented population and is actively seeking their support and votes.  My contacts in the immigration activist groups are also reporting that they are in touch with Mexican drug cartels and gangs who are pumping money into the upcoming elections so that some form of immigration reform will pass.  For the drug cartels, human smuggling is a multi-billion dollar business and they will do whatever it takes to create hopes in Latin America and elsewhere in the world that as long as you can enter the United States illegally, you can legalize.

Expanded DACA put on hold

After President Barack Obama expanded the eligibility requirements for DACA in November 2014, as many as half the states have sued.  They have since succeeded in getting a stay from a judge in Texas.  It is important to understand that if you are eligible for DACA under the 2012 program, there is nothing to worry because there is no change at all.  If you have never applied, you can still apply.  If you applied and have not been approved, just wait for the paperwork to come through (almost everyone is approved since Obama has ordered USCIS agents to ignore the law and approve anyone who applies).  If you have been approved, you can use your EAD card and even renew it.  However, until the case is finally decided (it is not clear what will happen, but this case may go all the way to the US Supreme Court, but in the meantime, it is possible that applications maybe accepted or maybe not). 

Just hang in there and in the meantime make sure that you file your 2014 tax return using your real name and valid ITIN and if you have children, you will be able to claim as much as $6,000 in what is known as Obama Amnesty Bonus (earned income tax credit), and if you have filed taxes for 2011, 2012, and 2013, by filing IRS Form 1040X, you will be able to get a refund of as much as $24,000.  Isn't America awesome?