- The Washington Times - Monday, August 28, 2017

Two top Republican senators demanded last week that the Trump administration share data on a loophole illegal immigrant “Dreamers” have used to gain a quick pathway to citizenship, despite what the law intended.

Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Mike Lee said the loophole has likely been used “dozens, if not hundreds” of times to help illegal immigrants cut at least 10 years out of their citizenship quest.

The trick is known as “advance parole,” and it allows illegal immigrants in the U.S. under special protected status — such as Dreamers here under the 2012 DACA deportation amnesty program — to get permission to leave the U.S. for work or school.

But one of the perks is that when they are paroled back into the U.S., they can quickly apply for a green card, signaling lawful permanent residence, which is the key step on the way to citizenship.

The loophole is known among immigration activists, and public colleges in California were urged to use it to help their illegal immigrant students here under the DACA program to gain legal status.

The California-Mexico Studies Center actually advertises just such a program, charging thousands of dollars to give Dreamers a chance to travel south to Mexico to qualify for advance parole. Part of the fees the program collects help pay for “legal advice and filing assistance” in obtaining advance parole.

Another class of 35 students took advantage of the program earlier this month, visiting Mexico then returning back to the U.S. legally — and now able to petition for permanent legal status, if they have another qualifying relationship such as a citizen child or spouse.

Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Mr. Lee, Utah Republican, had asked the Obama administration for information on how many people had made use of the loophole, but never heard back.

Now they’re looking to the Trump administration to pony up the data.

“In short, advanced parole effectively eliminates a DACA recipient’s unlawful status and creates an otherwise unavailable pathway to citizenship,” the senators said in laying out their request.

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