- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2017

As many as 3.6 million illegal immigrant “Dreamers” could be in line for permanent legal status in the U.S. under plans being circulated on Capitol Hill to replace the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty, according to a new report Friday from the Migration Policy Institute.

In each case it’s well beyond the 700,000 people being protected by the DACA program right now, underscoring the creeping scope of amnesty Congress is considering.

MPI analysts looked at five bills in Congress and found they range from a minimum of 1.3 million beneficiaries for a GOP-sponsored bill to 3.6 million under the most generous proposal, offered by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez.

All told, there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., so legalizing Dreamers — young adult illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as juveniles — will affect a large chunk of them.

President Trump last month announced he was phasing out the DACA program in six months, setting a deadline for Congress to act on a bill to grant them permanent status.

But each of the five main bills announced so far would go well beyond the 700,000 illegal immigrants being protected under DACA.

The DACA program applied to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. by 2007 and were before age 16 at the time, were under age 31 when they applied, who’d been in the country for five years, and who’d been working toward a high school education.

The bills in Congress now would lift the age cap and update the eligibility window, making far more people eligible. In addition, perhaps hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who might have qualified for DACA didn’t apply.

Those that are currently covered by DACA will be allowed to serve out their current permits, which last up to two years. And those whose status was to expire between early September and early March were allowed to apply for a two-year renewal.

Of the 154,000 people with permits expiring in that period, roughly 133,000 got their renewal applications in on time.

Another 5,000 applications came in after the deadline, Homeland Security said.

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