The anger over President Barack Obama’s policy granting young undocumented immigrants temporary permission to stay in the U.S. shows no signs of subsiding.
Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), have accused the administration of granting a backdoor amnesty to the young immigrants who qualify. Now those same critics are accusing the president of forcing taxpayers to pay for the program. Under the policy, known as deferred action, immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16, have lived here for at least five years, have no criminal history, are 31 or younger and meet certain educational requirements can apply for temporary work permits and identification. Homeland Security officials will begin accepting applications next week.
But it seems that opponents who are eager to shoot down the plan have overlooked one key fact. The agency that handles all immigration related visas and applications is self-funded, and has been since 1986. In fact, the bulk of U.S. Citizenship and Customs' budget comes from fees paid by immigrants. For example, in fiscal 2011 nearly $2.4 billion of the agency's $2.8 billion budget was financed through fee revenue, according to congressional testimony.
Federal officials have said the new plan will also pay for itself by requiring applicants to pay a $465 paperwork fee. And it seems federal law requires it too.