This section discusses amnesty for illegal aliens. Read more about the issue below:

Exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children - 2012 DHS directive

The following document is the official directive to enforcement sections of the DHS outlining policies they are to follow.  President Obama has not issued an Executive Order, although he has made it clear this directive reflects his position on "individuals [immigrants] who came to the United States as children."



U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20528

June 15, 2012


David V. Aguilar, Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

John Morton, Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

FROM:   Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security

SUBJECT: Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children

By this memorandum,  I am setting forth how, in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should enforce the Nation's immigration laws against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home.  As a general matter, these individuals lacked the intent to violate the law and our ongoing review of pending removal cases is already offering administrative closure to many of them. However, additional measures are necessary to ensure that our enforcement resources are not expended on these low priority cases but are instead appropriately focused on people who meet our enforcement priorities.

The following criteria should be satisfied before an individual is considered for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to this memorandum:

  • came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  • has continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and is present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  • is currently in school, has graduated from high school, has obtained a general education development certificate, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  • has not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety; and
  • is not above the age of thirty.

Our Nation's  immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner.  They are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language.  Indeed, many of these young people have already contributed to our country in significant ways.  Prosecutorial discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.

As part of this exercise of prosecutorial discretion, the above criteria are to be considered whether or not an individual is already in removal proceedings or subject to a final order of removal.  No individual should receive deferred action under this memorandum unless they first pass a background check and requests for relief pursuant to this memorandum are to be decided on a case by case basis.  DHS cannot provide any assurance that relief will be granted in all cases.

1.  With respect to individuals who are encountered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration  Services (USCIS):

  • With respect to individuals who meet the above criteria, ICE and CBP should immediately exercise their discretion, on an individual basis, in order to prevent low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States.
  • USCIS is instructed to implement this memorandum consistent with its existing guidance regarding the issuance of notices to appear.

2.  With respect to individuals who are  in removal proceedings but not yet subject to a final order of removal, and who meet the above criteria:

  • ICE should exercise prosecutorial discretion, on an individual basis, for individuals who meet the above criteria by deferring action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, in order to prevent low priority individuals from being removed from the United States.
  • ICE is instructed to use its Office of the Public Advocate to permit individuals who believe they meet the above criteria to identify themselves through a clear and efficient process.
  • ICE is directed to begin implementing this process within 60 days of the date of this memorandum.
  • ICE is also instructed to immediately begin the process of deferring action against individuals who meet the above criteria whose cases have already been identified through the ongoing review of pending cases before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

3.  With respect to the individuals who are not currently in removal proceedings and meet the above criteria, and pass a background check:

  • USCIS should establish a clear and efficient process for exercising prosecutorial discretion, on an individual basis, by deferring action against individuals who meet the above criteria and are at least 15 years old, for a period of two years, subject to renewal, in order to prevent low priority individuals from being placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States.
  • The USCIS process shall also be available to individuals subject to a final order of removal regardless of their age.
  • USCIS is directed to begin implementing this process within 60 days of the date of this memorandum.

For individuals who are granted deferred action by either ICE or USCIS, USCIS shall accept applications to determine whether these individuals qualify for work authorization during this period of deferred action.

This memorandum confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights. It remains for the executive branch, however, to set forth policy for the exercise of discretion within the framework of the existing law. I have done so here.

References on Amnesty Bills, S.744 & H.R. 1417, 113th Congress, 2013

From FAIR:

Amnesty 2013 resources.

Data Shows Border Security Metric in S.744 Subject to Political Manipulation. By Julie Kirchner, June 19, 2013.

Gang of Eight: Broken Promises & Special Deals; Did the Gang of Eight live up to all of their promises to make this bill tougher on border security than any previous legislation? What special interests benefit from the bill? What opportunities has the Senate rejected to strengthen it?

Amnesty issue briefs.

Legislation in the 113th Congress: H.R. 1417: Border Security Results Act of 2013. Bill comparison – H.R. 1417 and S.744. [Click on "Download PDF"]

Top 40 reasons to oppose the Gang of Eight Amnesty bill (S.744). June 5, 2013. [Click on "Click here to view in a new page" and see PDF document.]

Real immigration enforcement; S.744 doesn't do the job.  Sept. 2013.        Click on "in PDF format" to see the full report.


From Center for Immigration Studies:

Must-Read Articles on the Schumer-Rubio Bill; Highlighting the Flaws of S.744. By CIS June 2013

Hoeven-Corker Amendment – Long on Amnesty, Short on Everything Else. By Ronald W. Mortensen, June 24, 2013.

Foreign-Born Share Would Hit Historic High in Seven Years Under S.744; One in Seven U.S. Residents Would Be Immigrants by 2020. By Steven A. Camarota June 2013.

Five Myths about Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants in Senate Bill. By Jon Feere, May 15, 2013.

Questions for Lawmakers on Immigration. By Jon Feere August 2013.

Widening Existing Vulnerabilities; National Security Implications of S.744, Part 1. By Janice Kephart, July 8, 2013.


From NumbersUSA:

The FACTS on S.744.   This webpage includes live links to the following topics, all very useful in learning about the bill.  One must scroll far down on the page to see these topics.  The links listed below are not active but must be accessed through the NumbersUSA webpage at:

33 Million Green Cards in First Decade

S.744- Bad for America

S.744 -- 4 Big Problems

Heritage: Amnesty will cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion

National poll finds little support of Gang of Eight

FAIR: Top Reasons to Oppose S.744

12 Reasons to Oppose S.744

Marco Rubio: "First comes the Legalization"

Gang of Eight opposes Enforcement First

CIS: S.744 doubles guest-worker flows

USCCR Commissioner Peter Kirsanow op-ed: S.744 hurts low-skilled workers

S.744: More than 400 waivers and exemptions

S.744: Gang of Eight's Broken Promises

State-by-state U-6 unemployment rates. For 2013 updates, see

Opposition to S.744

S.744 Dear Colleague Letter

Congressional Opposition to the Gang of Eight's bill

Letter to Congress Opposing Gang of Eight Amnesty bill

USCIS Union opposes S.744

Law Enforcement Organizations Opposed to Gang of Eight's bill

Conservative Coalition Opposes Gang of Eight's bill

National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers statement on Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment

USCISLetter of opposition to Corker-Hoeven amendment    

Letter of opposition from Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration



Senators Question President's Authority to Issue Immigration Directive, 2012

In a letter sent to President Obama on June 19, a group of Senators led by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, asked for written responses to a list of detailed questions and a briefing from the administration officials who will be responsible for the program. They described their concerns about President’s circumvention of Congress in issuing the directive and questioned the impact of allowing work authorizations for illegal immigrants at the same time young Americans face record-high unemployment rates.

See text of the letter, with its detailed questions, below.

United States Senate
Washington DC 20510

June 19, 2012

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear President Obama:

      We are extremely concerned by your announcement  last week that the Department of Homeland Security plans to implement a program that grants deferred action to an untold number of illegal immigrants in the United States, and to allow them to receive work authorization during this time of record unemployment.  Not only do we question your legal authority to act unilaterally in this regard, we are frustrated that you have intentionally  bypassed Congress and the American people.

     As President, you swore to uphold and defend the Constitution and enforce the laws.  Your recently announced directive runs contrary to that responsibility.  Not only is your directive an affront to our system of representative government and the legislative process, but it is an inappropriate use of Executive power.

      Your position on whether you have the legal authority to act unilaterally has changed dramatically.  Just last year, you personally disputed the. notion that the Executive Branch could act on its own and grant benefits to a certain class of illegal immigrants.  Specifically, you stated,

"This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. The fact of the matter is there are laws on the hooks that I have to enforce. And I think there's been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It's just not true. We live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it."

• Why has your position on the legal authority of the Executive Branch changed?
• Did you consult with attorneys prior to the announcement about your legal authority to grant deferred action and work authorizations  to a specific class of illegal immigrants?
• Did you obtain a legal opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel or anyone else in the administration about your legal authority to implement such a program?
• Please provide copies of any documentation, including any and all legal opinions, memoranda, and emails, that discusses any authority you have or do not have to undertake this immigration directive.

We are also concerned that the directive being implemented allows individuals under the age of
30 to obtain a work authorization.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the
unemployment rate for young adults aged 16-24 has been nearl y 17% for the last year.  According to a Gallup poll conducted in April of this year, 32% of 18 to 29 year-olds in the U.S. workforce were underemployed.  Your directive runs contrary to the premise that American workers must come before foreign nationals.  It is astonishing that your administration would grant work authorizations to illegal immigrants during this time of record unemployment.  Your directive will only increase competition for American students and workers who struggle to find employment in today's economy.  Moreover, under current law, some foreign students and other legal visa holders are prohibited from obtaining work authorizations, giving illegal immigrants an advantage over those who play by the rules.

The implementation of your directive raises several serious questions.

• What will happen if your directive is challenged in court?
• Will individuals who have applied for deferred action be required to leave the U.S. if such a challenge is upheld?
• How will the administration handle family members, specifically the parents who violated federal immigration law?
• Will individuals who entered the U.S. on their own volition - either by crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa - be eligible for deferred action?
• Why does the directive allow individuals up to age 30 to benefit from deferred action if the directive is aimed at helping young people and students?
• How will federal officials who process the applications ensure that information provided by the individual is accurate and how will they verify that one truly entered the country before the age of 16 or are currently under the age of 30?
•  Will evidence submitted in support of deferred action applications be limited to independently verifiable government-issued  docu ments (e.g., school records, W-2s, tax returns)?  If not, why not?  If affidavits will be accepted, will they be required to be made under penalty of perjury?  If not, why not?
• Will illegal immigrants be required to appear in person for an interview by the federal government before deferred action is granted?
• How will the agency implementing the program ensure that fraud and abuse is prevented?
• What will the consequences be for individuals who intentionally defraud the government?
• Which databases will be used and how will background checks be conducted to ensure that individuals do not have a criminal history or pose a threat to public safety?
• What would constitute a "significant" misdemeanor offense, which is one of the criteria for eligibility for deferred status?
• Will individuals with final orders of removal be eligible for deferred action?
• What action will the administration take if an individual is denied deferred action?
• What action will be taken if an individual is granted deferred action, but subsequently abuses that grant, is arrested, is found to be a member of a criminal gang, or does not actually attend school?
• Absent congressional action, what will happen in two years to the individuals who are granted deferred action?
• Will recipients of deferred action be eli gible for receipt of advance parole?
• What criteria will be used to decide who gets work authorizations and who does not?
• Which other departments and agencies will be consulted and will work with the
Department of Homeland Security on the implementation of this directive?


We also believe that taxpayers deserve to know how this program will be funded.

• Can you assure us that the total implementation  cost of the program will be paid for by the individuals seeking to benefit, or will U.S. taxpayers subsidize any part of the program?
• How much, if anything, will an illegal immigrant be required to pay in order to obtain deferred action?
• What legal authority does the Executive Branch have to mandate a fee for this service?
We understand that the Department has never previously charged a fee for the processing of a request for deferred action.
• Do you plan to reprogram funds at the Department of Homeland Security or any other
Executive Branch agency to help fund the implementation of the directive?
• If you plan to use funds that already have been appropriated or other funds from the Department, please explain which programs will be reduced in order to cover the costs associated with the directive.
• If USCIS adjudications staff will be diverted from their normal duties to handle the millions of potential deferred action applications, what will be the impact on other USCIS programs?

Given that this directive is effective immediately and that many questions remain unanswered, we ask that you immediately make available Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Alejandro Mayorkas to respond to our concerns.
We would appreciate responses to our questions, including any relevant documentation related to this directive, no later than July 3, 2012.

[Signed by: Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Mike Crapo of Idaho, James Risch of Idaho, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, John Boozman of Arkansas, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, David Vitter of Louisiana, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Mike Lee of Utah, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.]



References on DACA ("Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals"), 2017

1.  The DACA Amnesty Must Be Ended, by Kris W. Kobach, Secretary of State for Kansas.  On, 30 August 2017.  .
Excerpt: “The DACA amnesty allows virtually any illegal alien up to the age of 31 (as of June 15, 2012, when it was announced) who claims that he entered the United States before the age of 16 to gain “deferred action” and lawful presence in the United States. The alien also becomes eligible for employment authorization. In practice, today illegal aliens up the age of 36 are getting the amnesty. It’s not limited to “children” as the Left is so eager to pretend. It’s estimated that the DACA amnesty could extend to approximately 1.7 million illegal aliens. More than 886,000 have already applied for, and received, the amnesty.”
Kobach is an expert on immigration law, and he cites the legal bases for ending DACA.
Excerpt:  “Amid the hysterical criticism of President Trump’s decision to review government protections for young illegal immigrants, it is instructive to recall how the Obama administration bypassed Congress and usurped legislative powers to implement the controversial policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in the first place.”
The article is a concise account of how the DACA program developed and who created it.
3.  700K American Job Openings If DACA Ends, by John Binder. On, 31 August 2017.
Excerpt: “A study by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s open borders organization revealed that if an Obama-created amnesty program for young illegal aliens is ended, it would open nearly 700,000 American jobs.
“Zuckerberg’s group – a pro-immigration lobbying group – released the study with the intention to show the hardships of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, where more than 850,000 young illegal aliens have been given temporary amnesty would have on the American economy.
“The study unintentionally revealed how many more job opportunities American workers would have if President Trump were to repeal DACA, as he promised his supporters he would do.”
4.  45,000 Illegals Using DACA Backdoor to Get Green Cards, by Neil Munro.  On, 1 September 2017.
Excerpt:  “President Barack Obama’s deputies opened a little-known immigration backdoor to put 45,000 DACA illegals on a multistep path to citizenship, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee. …”
5.  Data Indicate Unauthorized Immigrants Exploited Loophole to Gain Legal Status, Pathway to Citizenship.  News release from office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), September 01, 2017, Washington, DC.
Full text:  “Preliminary data provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in response to recent inquiries from the House and Senate Judiciary Committees indicate that the Obama administration allowed thousands of DACA recipients to exploit an immigration law loophole to obtain green cards. The data also show that more than a thousand DACA recipients have already obtained citizenship. The DACA program was never intended to provide a pathway to citizenship, and the program’s legal future is in jeopardy.
“As of August 21, 2017, 45,447 DACA recipients have been approved for advance parole through an I-131 Application for travel documents. This approval allows a DACA recipient to travel out of the country and legally return, making them eligible to adjust their immigration status and receive a green card.  Another 3,993 had their applications denied.
“The data provided indicates 59,778 DACA recipients have applied for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status—also known as a ‘green card’—and 39,514 have been approved.  Of those who received LPR status, 2,181 have applied for U.S. citizenship and 1,056 have become U.S. citizens.”
6.  Research on Dreamers Contradicts Public Image, by Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration Studies, August 31, 2017
Excerpt:  “ … the reality is that only Congress can give authentic and permanent legal status to the Dreamers. Before they do, they should take the time to find out more about the characteristics of this population. As it turns out, the actual educational attainment and economic contributions of this group of illegal aliens does not quite match up with the public image that has been cultivated by amnesty activists and their supporters. …” 
7.  14 Things the MSM Won’t Tell You About DACA, by John Nolte.  On, 5 September 2017.
Partial contents.- DACA Is a Massive Amnesty Program.- DACA Recipients Are Not the Children.- DACA Recipients Take Jobs Americans WILL Do.- Some DACA Recipients are Criminals.- DACA Is Not a Law, It Is the Violation of Law.- Most DACA Recipients are Not Overachievers.- DACA Is Wildly Unfair to Americans, Most Especially Young Americans Just Starting Out.- Unless It Is Stopped, DACA Will Never Stop Growing.
8.  Arguments For DACA Put Americans Last, by Scott Greer.  On Daily Caller, September 4, 2017.
The author exposes motives of those arguing in favor of keeping the DACA program.
Excerpt:  “The outrage over DACA has only started, and in the coming days we are guaranteed to be inundated with claims Trump is going to tear eight year olds from their mothers’ arm and the economy is about to collapse without Dreamers.
“In the upcoming cacophony of cries and shrieks, it’s worth looking at the real motivations for keeping DACA. For failed Mexican presidents and corporations, the concern for Dreamers isn’t so noble.”
9.  CNN And MSNBC Claim DACA-Recipients Are ‘Children’, by Amber Athey.  On Daily Caller, September 5, 2017.
Excerpt:  “CNN and MSNBC are repeating the false claim that DACA recipients are “children” or “kids,” while actually most are adults.
“While DACA recipients were illegally brought to the United States by their parents when they were children, the minimum age to apply for the program is 15 years old. In fact, the majority of the applicants were over the age of 20 based on 2014 data from the US government. Some have estimated that the average age of dreamers is 25 or 26 years old–hardly children. …”
10.  Statement of President Donald Trump on DACA, September 5, 2017.  Issued as a White House news release.
“…in keeping with the obligations of my office, the Department of Homeland Security will begin an orderly transition and wind-down of DACA…”
11.  Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on DACA.  News release from U.S. Department of Justice, September 5, 2017.
“Good morning. I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama Administration is being rescinded. …”
12.  The Media's DACA Numbers Are Misleading,  by Preston Huennekens, CIS Immigration Blog, September 6, 2017
Concludes that “The statistics cited by the Center for American Progress, the Washington Times, the Cato Institute, the New York Times, and CNN come from a flawed study that is neither peer-reviewed nor accurate. The methodology, sample collection, and conclusions are suspicious at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.”
13. Immigration Reformers: Three Big Reasons to Oppose DACA Re-Amnesty, by Neil Munro,, September 7,  2017.
“A quick no-strings amnesty for younger illegal immigrants would invite more illegals, disadvantage Americans, cripple the GOP and wound President Donald Trump, say immigration reformers.”  Munro presents a strong case for ending the DACA program permanently now.
14. Fmr. USCIS Investigator: There’s a ‘Huge’ Amount of Fraud in DACA, by Margaret Menge.   On, September 7, 2017.   
“As many as half of the approximately 800,000 people who now have work permits under DACA may have lied on their applications to get approved, said Matt O’Brien, an attorney and until last year a manager in the investigative unit of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).”  In the article, Mr. O’Brien details many facts showing extensive fraud in the program.