UNITED NATIONS – The Obama administration has begun implementing a program to fly to the United States at taxpayer expense unaccompanied minors from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras if the “children” under 21 have a parent legally residing in the U.S.
“Americans will be outraged to learn their tax dollars are being used to help illegal aliens here in the United States bring their illegal-alien children here as well,” Tom Fitton, president of Washington-based Judicial Watch told WND. “The Obama administration wants to prevent another surge of Central American unaccompanied minors coming across the border like we saw last year.”
Fitton was doubtful the State Department program would stem the tide of Central American youth making the dangerous trek through Mexico.
“What the Obama administration has managed to do is create a new surge of refugees and paroles that are going to accompany the surge of Central American youth crossing Mexico this summer despite the State Department program,” Fitton said. “It looks to me like as far as the Obama administration is concerned, there ought to be no border.”
Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, confirmed that under the State Department program, the Obama administration will fly children at taxpayer expense into the U.S. as refugees, and the ones who don’t qualify as refugees are going to be admitted under parole.
“What it amounts to is that President Obama just gets to admit whoever he wants to let into the country,” he said.
Krikorian pointed out the parole part of the State Department program allows illegal immigrant parents as well as their children to enter the U.S. legally with government permission.
“The law talks about parole in very narrow terms, only to be used in limited, emergency circumstances like someone needs surgery and he would not get visa permission otherwise,” he noted.
The Obama administration, however, he said, is “asserting the parole power allows the president to let in the country anyone the president wants to let in the country, for whatever reason the president says, in any number from anywhere.”
“That’s essentially the basis for this State Department program,” Krikorian said.
He pointed out the 1980 Refugee Act requires an annual limit that the president sets with Congress to fix a numerical maximum of the refugees from specific countries that are allowed to enter the country legally.
“What President Obama is adding to the refugee authority under this act is a parole provision escape hatch that allows Obama to admit anyone not qualifying as a refugee,” Krikorian said.
“Then, the minute the parolee gets in the country, their lawyer can apply for political asylum, which ends up as being the same thing as if the person came here as a refugee,” he explained.
Texas judge reprimands Obama
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, refused to grant the government’s petition to lift the injunction he imposed Feb. 16 preventing the Obama administration from implementing its series of executive actions to delay the deportation of up to 5 million illegal aliens.
The executive actions included a Department of Homeland Security memorandum signed by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Nov. 4, 2014, as WND was the first to report.
In a separate order compelling the government to comply, Judge Hansen also expressed displeasure the Obama administration had “misrepresented the facts” in violating his injunction to stop implementing the amnesty plan.
Hansen was upset the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had proceeded after the injunction was issued to grant three-year deferred deportation to some 100,000 illegal aliens in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA. Under the original 2012 guidelines, only two-year extensions were granted.
Implementing the State Department’s refugee/parole program to reunite Central American minors with their parents in the U.S. could also could violate Judge Hansen’s order to stop implementing the Obama amnesty.
The concern is that parents applying to have their Central American children join them could be in the U.S. legally only under Obama executive actions that alter existing immigration law.
“We now know 100,000 DACA youth applicants were rushed through by the Obama administration to give them three-year extensions instead of two-year extensions,” Fitton pointed out. “What happens if one of these 100,000 that Judge Hansen says violated the injunction in getting their DACA extensions applies to have someone they claim is their child brought here as a refugee or parolee under the State Department’s program?”
Fitton pointed out additional problems under the State Department program.
“Where is the persecution that defines these Central American kids as refugees in the first place?” he asked. “Besides, the parole system was never designed as a legal means of bringing a mass quantity of people from Central America into the United States.”
“Under the new initiative the administration has rebranded the official name it originally assigned to the droves of illegal immigrant minors who continue sneaking into the United States. They are no longer known as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), a term that evidently was offensive and not politically correct enough for the powerful open borders movement,” the Judicial Watch website explains. “The new arrivals will be officially known as Central American Minors (CAMS) and they will be eligible for a special refugee/parole that offers a free one-way flight to the United States from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.”
The project is a joint venture between the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department.
State Department refugee/parole procedures
The program, announced on the State Department website Nov. 14, 2014, is aimed at reclassifying the Central American minors who qualify not as “illegal immigrants” but as “refugees” applying for asylum in the United States.
The program is titled “In-Country Refugee/Parole Program for Children in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with Parents Lawfully Present in the United States.” The State Department website provides instructions for initiating the process,
The State Department instructions specify: “Form DS-7699 must be filed with the assistance of a designated resettlement agency that works with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to help resettle refugees in the United States. Parents do not need to pay any fee to file this form or for assistance in completing and submitting the form, but they are expected to cover the initial costs of DNA testing to confirm claimed biological parent-child relationships.”
The State Department further specifies that while the program is designed to allow certain parents from any one of three countries who are lawfully present in the U.S. to bring their children to the U.S. via the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, “children who are found ineligible for refugee admission but still at risk of harm may be considered for parole on a case-by-case basis.”
Under the program, the number of children or parents admitted as a refugee in the Latin American/Caribbean regional allocations specified for fiscal year 2015 is no more than 4,000 persons. The State Department website notes, notes, however, “there is some flexibility within the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to accommodate a higher number than anticipated from Latin America in fiscal year 2015.”
There is no cap on the number of paroles the United States may allow into the country from the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Paroles can be granted to applicants under the age of 21, even if their parents are in the United States illegally. Paroles may even include the parents themselves, provided the parents are applying from outside the United States.
The State Department website describes the operation of the program as follows:
Applicants found by DHS to be ineligible for refugee status in the United States will be considered on a case-by-case basis for parole, which is a mechanism to allow someone who is otherwise inadmissible to come to the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. An individual considered for parole may be eligible for parole if DHS finds that the individual is at risk of harm, he/she clears all background vetting, there is no serious derogatory information, and someone has committed to financially support the individual while he/she is in the United States.
The procedures for admitting refugees under the program is specified as follows:
DHS [Department of Homeland Security] will conduct interviews with each child to determine whether he or she is eligible for refugee status and admissible to the United States. All applicants must complete all required security checks and obtain a medical clearance before they are approved to travel as a refugee to the United States. IOM [International Organization for Migration, which manages the U.S. Resettlement Support Center, RSC, in Latin America] will arrange travel for the refugee(s) to the United States. The parent of the child will sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the cost of travel to the United States. Approved refugees will be eligible for the same support provided to all refugees resettled in the United States, including assignment to a resettlement agency that will assist with reception and placement, and assistance registering children in school.
The procedures for admitting children and parents eligible for parole is different. Those eligible for parole must book and pay for the flight to the United States, as noted in the following language:
Those children and any eligible parent considered for parole will be responsible for obtaining and paying for a medical clearance. An individual authorized parole will not be eligible for a travel loan but must book and pay for the flight to the United States. Parole is temporary and does not confer any permanent legal immigration status or path to permanent legal immigration status in the United States. Paroles are not eligible for medical and other benefits upon arrival in the United States, but are eligible to attend school and/or apply for employment authorization. Individuals authorized parole under this program generally will be authorized parole for an initial period of two years and may request renewal.
The documents required to access the program, along with frequently asked questions and a fact sheet, presented in both English and Spanish, are archived on a State Department Refugee Processing Center website, along with a list of State Department-approved affiliates throughout the United States.
Biden telegraphed Obama’s refugee plans
On Nov. 14, 2014, WND reported Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to the Latin-American Development Bank, made formal the anticipated announcement the Obama administration plans to extend refugee status to Central American children.
While Biden’s speech was devoid of details, conceivably State Department airplanes could be provided to transport the Central American children granted refugee status, enabling the children to avoid having to take the risks of paying coyotes and paying criminal gangs to travel through Mexico to enter the U.S.
WND also reported unnamed U.S. officials told media prior to Biden’s speech that children deemed refugees will be allowed to work immediately upon entry in the U.S., applying for permanent residency the next year and for naturalization five years later.
On July 11, 2014, WND reported Mexico and Guatemala agreed to make it easier and safer for Central Americans, including unaccompanied minors, to enter the United States illegally.
Though largely unreported in the U.S. establishment media, Mexico and Guatemala reached an agreement July 7, 2014, in a presidential-level meeting between the two countries in Mexico. The deal to made it legal and safer for Central American immigrants, including unaccompanied minors, to cross Mexico’s border with Guatemala and transit Mexico.
To facilitate the program, the Mexican government announced plans to issue a new “Regional Visitor Card” that will provide documentation for the Central Americans to remain in Mexico as long as it takes to get to the United Stats.
Under the auspices of a “Southern Border Program,” Mexican President Enrique Peña and Guatemalan President Otto Pérez, in a meeting in Mexico, agreed to take five concrete steps to “protect and safeguard the human rights of migrants who enter and transit Mexico, so as to order international routes of passage [in and through Mexico] to increase and develop the security of the region.”
As WND also reported July 11, 2014, former Obama “border czar” Alan Bersin, currently serving as assistant secretary of homeland security for international affairs, declared in a 2012 speech the southern border of the United States is effectively now the Mexican border with Guatemala.
Bersin made the remark at the Annual Border Issues Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a terrific period,” Bersin said, suggesting the “real action” economically in the world will be in North America in the future, thanks to the oil and gas resources of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
“The Guatemalan border with Chiapas, Mexico, is now our southern border,” Bersin went on to claim.
As WND reported July 14, 2014, representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHRC, were holding “intense discussions” about the possibility of extending U.N. protection to the thousands of Central American crossing the border with Mexico illegally by defining them as “refugees” seeking asylum from domestic and political violence in their home nations.
While the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, PRM, works in close conjunction with the UNHRC, the problem under international law is that minors under 21 abandoned in the Central American countries under question by parents legally in the U.S. are not part of any group the U.N. has designated as “refugees” seeking protection of international law as victims of political or religious persecution under the U.N.’s 30-year-old declaration on the rights of refugees.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services points out that the agency has the authority to “grant parole temporarily to a anyone applying for admission into the United States based on urgent humanitarian reasons or if there is a significant public benefit,” but the grant of temporary parole is limited to “a period of time that corresponds with the length of the emergency or humanitarian situation.”
The USCIS policy of “humanitarian parole” further specifies “paroles must depart the United States before the expiration of the parole.”
The definition of “refugee status” granting permanent residency and citizenship possibilities is more consistent with definitions of refugee status under various United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees international conventions.