DACA recipients are “inadmissible and thus removable” under federal law
Ruling likely will lead to additional legal action on public benefits in Georgia
Illegal aliens who have been awarded deferred action on deportation proceedings through the DACA amnesty by both the Obama and Trump administrations are illegal aliens and do not have “lawful presence” says the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision was handed down March 6, 2019.
The ruling was in response to a suit brought by several illegal aliens in Georgia who are challenging the Board of Regents policy that requires lawful presence for instate tuition purposes and admittance to some USG universities.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Georgia is home to more illegal aliens than is Arizona. Statistics from the Washington DC – based Migration Policy Institute highlighted by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute indicate that Georgia has more illegal aliens than green card holders.
A group of DACA recipients sued the leaders of the Georgia higher education system in 2016, which bars aliens who are not “lawfully present” from enrolling in some Georgia colleges and universities, even if they would academically qualify for admission. “The students argued that they were lawfully present under federal law, which preempted state law. They also claimed that the admissions bar violated their right to equal protection, as Georgia treats aliens who are paroled into the U.S. or granted asylum as “lawfully present,” reported the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
The Eleventh Circuit rejected all of the students’ claims. The court noted that “lawfully present” is not a standalone immigration classification, and it is not defined anywhere in the (Immigration and Nationality) Act” *(opinion here).
The ruling is consistent with an official October 2017 statement to this writer from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that “current law does not grant any legal status for the class of individuals who are current recipients of DACA. Recipients of DACA are currently unlawfully present in the U.S. with their removal deferred.”
Decision may lead to additional legal action on access to public benefits
The court’s decision likely portends more legal action. Georgia’s public benefits law, OCGA 50-36-1, requires “lawful presence” for non-citizens to access a host of public benefits, including drivers licenses, official ID Cards, health benefits, food stamps, insurance licenses and unemployment benefits. While it goes largely unreported by the Georgia media, various official agencies have been quietly issuing these benefits to DACA recipients since 2012 based on the applicant’s oath on affidavits that they are a “qualified alien.”
The monetary cost to Georgia taxpayers for benefits to the illegal aliens with deferred action on deportation, both in and outside of DACA is unknown.
Updated, 4:50PM March 8, 2019. Updated July 26, 2020 with addition of link to affidavit. Updated July 30, 2020 with link to “qualified alien.”