Thousands of Dreamers have used a loophole in federal law to get on a full pathway to citizenship, top congressional Republicans revealed Friday, citing government data withheld by the Obama administration but provided by the Trump administration.
The Dreamers were all part of DACA, the legally questionable amnesty program that’s under scrutiny right now as President Trump decides whether to scrap the Obama-era amnesty.
The House and Senate Judiciary Committees revealed that more than 45,000 DACA recipients were approved for “advance parole,” which is permission to leave and reenter the U.S. despite not being in permanent legal status here.
But under a quirk of law, those granted advance parole can then ask to adjust their status and gain legal residence — and eventually citizenship — as long as they have a qualifying relationship.
The Obama administration had seemed intent on keeping the data secret, refusing to answer requests from Congress. The Trump administration complied.
According to the data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as of Aug. 21, 45,447 DACA recipients had been approved for advance parole.
The loophole is known among immigration activists, and public colleges in California were urged to use it to help their illegal immigrant students here under the DACA program to gain legal status.
The California-Mexico Studies Center actually advertises just such a program, charging thousands of dollars to give Dreamers a chance to travel south to Mexico to qualify for advance parole. Part of the fees the program collects help pay for “legal advice and filing assistance” in obtaining advance parole.
Another class of 35 students took advantage of the program earlier this month, visiting Mexico then returning back to the U.S. legally — and now able to petition for permanent legal status, if they have another qualifying relationship such as a citizen child or spouse.