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Immigration Plan To Cost $585 Million, Application Fees To Net $484: Who Bears The Shortfall, Question Opponents?
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The Financial implications of the Obama administration’s amnesty scheme that eliminated the possibility of thousands of young illegal immigrants being deported and permitted them to remain within the country and apply for work permits, is huge. It is estimated that it could cost more than $585 million to implement.

Illegal immigrants can request permission to stay in the country under the amnesty plan by filing a document, “Request for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” For this they will have to pay an application fee of $465, paperwork fee earmarked  to counterbalance the program’s cost.

Even though quite some time has elapsed since President Obama made this historic announcement, it is still unclear when the new residents of the country can start applying for work permits. However, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press, illegal immigrants will be able to apply for permission to stay in the country and apply for a work permit starting Aug. 15.


It is immensely likely that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be asked to process more than a million applications in the first year itself. To process such a massive number will entail procedures and manpower that would require hiring hundreds of new federal employees that could cost the Immigration Services between $467 million and $585 million.

Most of these expenses are expected to be offset by the fees that the applicants will pay to have their applications processed. However, the revenue generated from the applicants is to be in the region of $484 million, this leaves a deficit of more than a $100 million.

Moreover, if the government decides to waive applicant paperwork fees could even further hike up the government’s costs. Even though the government said that there would be no waivers, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress last week that the government would grant waivers “in very deserving cases.”

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Republicans, already critical of the Obama amnesty, said that the possibility of taxpayers having to bear part of the bill, could not be ruled out.

“By lowering the fee or waiving it altogether for illegal immigrants, those who play by the rules will face delays and large backlogs as attention is diverted to illegal immigrants,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said. “American taxpayers should not be forced to bail out illegal immigrants and President Obama’s fiscally irresponsible policies.”

The Department of Homeland Security refuted the Republicans allegations and said that the program has to be covered by applicant fees and “will not require any taxpayer dollars.”  Spokesman Matthew Chandler also noted that the process is “not final.”

“Preliminary documents should not be confused with final operational decisions, and any cost estimates do not reflect final decisions of the department or the actual volume of requests,” he said. “As the administration has repeatedly made clear, USCIS is a fee-based agency and the adjudication of deferred action application requests will not use taxpayer dollars.”

The government estimates that as many as 890,000 immigrants would immediately qualify to avoid deportation.

The process however, would take time for the final decision whether the applicant merited a work permit or not would take some time. Once the application was submitted, it would take anything between two to ten days for the   Homeland Security Department to scan and file them.

Applicants could have to wait for up to a month to be summoned for finger printing and photographs. An ensuing background check could take a month and half and another three months before the government made its final decision to issue a work permit or not to issue one.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that new information should be made available by the first of August. She assured apprehensive immigrants that applicants, unless in extreme cases, be detained by immigration authorities while their applications are pending.



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