Senate Judiciary Committee Examines Refugee/Parole Program

by Marguerite Telford –
Center for Immigration Studies –

CIS director testifies: unlawful, unprecedented, and costly

WASHINGTON, DC (April 23, 2015) — The director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, focusing on the new Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program and the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP) and their impact on American communities. Jessica Vaughan’s testimony emphasizes the dramatic departure from existing law and policy this controversial program represents as well as the resulting high cost to taxpayers, public safety problems, and continued illegal immigration. The hearing takes place as a federal appeals court considers whether President Obama’s executive amnesties can move forward prior to a ruling on the challenge to these amnesties brought by 26 states.

View Vaughan’s testimony online at: http://cis.org/Testimony/Vaughan-Senate-Unaccompanied-Minors-042315

Vaughan stresses that CAM is not a refugee program, “The clear focus of the program is on family reunification, not escaping persecution, which is the legal basis for U.S. and international refugee programs.” The administration is bypassing Congress and present law in allowing those who have entered the U.S. illegally, from three specific countries, to sponsor family members despite lacking the status to do so.

Vaughan’s testimony also points out that use of parole for this group is an abuse of executive authority. Parole, which allows entry on a case-by-case basis to an alien who is otherwise inadmissible, is intended for exceptional circumstances and compelling humanitarian reasons. CAM only requires the applicant have a qualifying family relationship. Moreover, grants of parole are intended to be temporary.

Stressing the large numbers qualifying for the program, Vaughan says, “The total number of parents who could seek to bring in their children through the CAM program potentially could be as high as 150,000.” She continues mentioning that if DAPA is allowed to launch, several hundred thousand more Central American parents now in the U.S. illegally would be able to apply, even those who have been deported or who have criminal convictions.

Vaughan’s testimony also discusses HFRP, another family reunification program designed to circumvent normal visa procedures. And unlike legal immigrants, those Haitians receiving parole qualify for federal welfare benefits immediately, instead of waiting for five years.

These two programs could easily cost the taxpayer over one billion dollars per year. The programs will also have indirect costs, including depressed wages, lost job opportunities, possible criminal activity, increased illegal immigration, and strained education and healthcare conditions.

Vaughan states that “The Obama administration claims these programs are a “significant public benefit but in reality they impose a significant public burden and must be stopped.”

Contact: Marguerite Telford
202-466-8185, mrt@cis.org

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