U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), yesterday cosponsored legislation introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to expand President Obama's policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and from continuing to grant amnesty or process work permits for illegal immigrants.
"DACA is enticing families to send their young children on the dangerous journey to the U.S-Mexico border, exposing them to treacherous and often times deadly conditions," said Inhofe. "Without President Obama's campaign promise of amnesty we would not have the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children crossing our southern border, and we would have one less crisis for the country to confront. I am proud to stand with Sens. Cruz, Sessions, and Vitter against the President's amnesty approach to immigration reform and will continue to work with my colleagues to find a solution that will secure our southern border and put an end to this crisis that is leaving vulnerable children in the crosshairs."
In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced the DACA program, which allows certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to request deferred prosecutorial action for a period of two years, which can be renewed. Those who qualify will be safe from deportation, eligible to obtain work authorization, and eligible to receive a social security number as well as a driver's license in nearly every state.
In November, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a report stating that the number of unaccompanied children detained at the border averaged about 6,600 in fiscal years 2004 through 2011. The number increased to 13,000 in fiscal year 2012 and to more than 24,000 in fiscal year 2013. This year, the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border is expected to be 66,000 and to increase to 127,000 by next year.
In June, Sen. Inhofe toured Ft. Sill in Lawton, Okla., where nearly 600 unaccompanied alien children were being housed. Since that time the number of children being housed on the military installation has increased and remains between 1,000 and 1,200 children at any given time.