Immigration hawks slammed the border security compromise President Trump signed into law Friday for containing last-minute provisions that they argued give “amnesty” to many – but a Department of Homeland Security official insisted to Fox News that’s a misunderstanding of the bill.
The amnesty claim was made by lawmakers and conservative commentators.
“This ‘deal’ provides de facto amnesty for anyone claiming to be even in the household of a potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien minor,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter Thursday.
That ‘amnesty’ claim is based on section 224 of the budget — which appears, on first glance, to block the deportation of many people who are illegally in the U.S.
That’s because it states that no funds may be used to detain or deport any “sponsor” or “potential sponsor” of an “unaccompanied alien child.” It adds that even any “member of a household” of a “potential sponsor” is now immune from deportation.
But a DHS official told Fox News that terms like “potential sponsor” have precise meanings in Department of Homeland Security regulations — meanings that severely limit the number of people the budget keeps safe from deportation.
For example, to be a “potential sponsor” according to the DHS regulations, one must file significant paperwork — such as showing ID (U.S. or foreign) and proof of residency. The adult applying must also submit documents about the child.
Further, because the bill only applies to kids who are unaccompanied, it does not provide protection for those bringing kids into the US.
That would significantly limit the number of people to whom the no-deportation provision applies.
The section was added to ensure that people coming to pick up kids in custody did not find themselves deported for showing up to pick up the kid.
Chris Chmielenski, the deputy director of NumbersUSA, which fights for lower immigration levels and which urged President Trump to veto the budget, told Fox News that the provision is still problematic despite DHS’s clarifications.
“We still have some serious concerns about…