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(2) WAIVER- Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive the ground of ineligibility under paragraph (1), (4), or (6) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the ground of deportability under paragraph (1) of section 237(a) of that Act for humanitarian purposes or family unity or when it is otherwise in the public interest.

Conspiracy theorists like William Gheen made a big deal about the waiver authority included in the December version of the DREAM Act, claiming that itr allowed for the federal government to extend DREAM Act relief to all undocumented immigrants within the United States. Gheen recently restated this on the State of Things with Frank Stasio.

Aside from being incorrect, Gheen’s claim doesn’t make any sense. The waiver only applies to paragraphs (1), (4) and (6) of section 212a of the the Immigration and Nationality Act, which are health, welfare and unlawful entry considerations. It also states that DHS can only do so “for humanitarian purposes or family unity or when it is otherwise in the public interest.”

Let’s humor the idea for a second: if the President were to interpret the waiver so loosely as to apply it to twelve million people rather than the estimated two million, why would he need the DREAM Act at all? The president can already unilaterally halt deportations, as 22 Senators are now asking him to do. He can also freeze someone’s immigration status (known as “paroling-in-place”) without legislation. The motivation to do what Gheen claims Obama is doing isn’t there, even it were possible.

The problem has been Obama’s failure to do everything he can for immigrants, not what he might do with legislative backing. Nonetheless, this is one conspiracy theory you will still find all over the Internet.

Recently on The State of Things with Frank Stasio, Viridiana pointed out to ALIPAC’s William Gheen that “there are no illegal alien lines at the grocery store”, countering his claim that undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes. That point was reinforced today by this article in the New York Daily News, which points out that undocumented immigrants paid $11.2 Billion last year alone, while General Electric, which earned $14 billion last year, paid exactly $0 in taxes. Aside from sales, excise and property taxes, the IRS issues undocumented immigrants 9-digit ITINs which allow the government to collect income tax from them.

The report comes from the Immigration Policy Center and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Read more on the report here.

According to Citizens for Tax Justice, “…the new IPC report serves as an important reminder that undocumented taxpayers make important financial contributions to the fiscal health of state and local governments.”

Well put.

Listen to yesterday’s broadcast here. It’s a lively discussion.

The underpinning of Gheen’s argument is that immigrants are to blame for corporate interference with American politics.

As far as “attrition” being humane, here’s something to remember:

attrition (əˈtrɪʃən)
— n
[...] constant wearing down to weaken or destroy (often in the phrase war of attrition)


Feel free to leave your reflections in the comment section.

Listen to The State of Things today on 91.5 (Raleigh) to hear members of the NC DREAM Team discuss immigration, education and the recent action in Georgia.

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