By Mike Lillis - 08/29/11 05:03 PM EDT
A leading advocate for immigrant rights is warning this week that new White House deportation rules are ripe for abuse.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said the Department of Homeland Security’s new deportation policies — which will allow noncriminal illegal immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely — will make some immigrants susceptible to scammers hoping to provide them, for a cost, with phantom services.
“The main concern is that someone trying to make a quick buck goes out and says, ‘Give me money and I’ll sign you up for the new program,’ when no such program exists,” his office said Monday in an email. “An immigrant family who wants to be on-the-books, legal, and in the system is often desperate and has a pretty vague understanding of the subtleties of the legal system and sometimes English is a barrier too.”
Announced by DHS earlier this month, the new rules will halt the blanket deportation of every illegal immigrant in line for banishment. Instead, DHS officials will look at each individual on a case-by-case basis, prioritizing violent offenders and other criminals, while closing the books on students and others not considered menacing.
Many Democrats have welcomed the new rules, applauding President Obama for prioritizing the use of limited DHS resources and allowing promising individuals to remain in the country. Republicans, on the other hand, have hammered the changes as a unilateral move to evade the wishes of Congress, which defeated a similar proposal — the DREAM Act — in December.
Gutierrez has organized a meeting next week between Capitol Hill offices and senior officials at DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch, who will brief Congress on which factors would make some immigrants “low priority.”