Romney Stopping DACA Application Approvals On Becoming President.

Alan Lee, Esq.

On Monday, October 1st, Mitt Romney said in a Denver Post interview that he would not revoke work permits issued under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. "The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid ... I'm not going to take something that they've purchased...."

There are two things wrong with the statement besides the fact that deferred departure is not a visa. (It is only a withholding of adverse action and as with other deferred action programs of U.S.C.I.S. or U.S. I.C.E., participants can also apply for employment authorization). The first is the attitude that Mr. Romney takes to the subject - the line "I'm not going to take something that they've purchased" connoting contempt for the program. The second is the businessman approach to the subject as some type of consumer exchange focused on money changing hands rather than the reaction of a statesman.

On Tuesday, October 2nd, the Romney people hastily backtracked in telling the Boston Globe that a President Romney "would honor deportation exemptions issued by the Obama administration before his inauguration but would not grant new ones after taking office."

On that same day, the Director of U.S.C.I.S., Alejandro Mayorkas, informed the Los Angeles Times that about 120,000 had applied for the program with 200 approved.

Unless new information is released on a change of heart by the Romney camp, and coupled with the fact that Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) are currently attempting to slow down adjudications by demanding information on how thorough the background clearances for DACA applicants are being vetted (letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on October 2, 2012, asking 10 questions on the conduct of background checks and demanding a response by October 12, 2012), there is a good chance that many current applications will not be approved by the day that the election winner is inaugurated and takes office on January 20, 2013.

DACA is the best chance for young people who arrived here before the age of 16 to gain a foothold in this country. An estimated 1.76 million may be eligible under the program. With the threat to the program as starkly stated as ever by the Romney side, those who may be affected may be drawn to work hard for an Obama reelection. Mr. Romney has thus far indicated that he might support a DREAM Act based only on military and not student eligibility standards.

This article © 2012 Alan Lee, Esq.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City holding an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Director, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and on the New York Super Lawyers list. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Bush Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

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