GOP DACA Bill Mandates Deportation For DACA Recipients Who Are Poor

Pax Ahimsa Gethen/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

DACA recipients would be deported if they fail to maintain an income that is 125% of the U.S. poverty line for 90-days.

House Republicans have introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that essentially criminalizes poverty among recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In the 414-page "Securing America's Future Act of 2018", Republicans use the federal poverty line to dictate at which point Dreamers would fall into the category of "criminal":

In effect, and explicitly, this equates to a criminalization of poverty–for Dreamers alone–because the income metrics used in the bill are based off of federal poverty levels.

Section 1102(b)(4)(L) of the Securing America’s Future (“SAF”) Act reads, in relevant part:

"GROUNDS FOR INELIGIBILITY.—An alien is ineligible for contingent nonimmigrant status if the Secretary determines that the alien…if over the age of 18, has failed to demonstrate that he or she is able to maintain himself or herself at an annual income that is not less than 125 percent of the Federal poverty level throughout the period of admission as contingent nonimmigrant, unless the alien has demonstrated that the alien is enrolled in, and is in regular full-time attendance at, an educational institution within the United States; "

The act's introduction has received little fanfare, but the libertarian CATO Institute took issue with its DACA-related provisions:

Take, for example, the status provided to Dreamers in this bill. It requires them to maintain an annual income of at least 125 percent of the poverty line (p. 396). If they fall below that level for 90 days—not only are they subject to deportation again—they would be criminals. This bill literally criminalizes poverty among Dreamers. This legislation would immediately undo much of the progress that the Feds have made on criminal justice reform and reducing its prison population.