By the generosity of the Obama administration, no application fee was attached to the process of applying for DACA status. Those already living in the U.S. that qualified for the program where thus freed from a substantial financial responsibility that comes with obtaining any form of legal status in the United States.
However, this does not mean the application process all of a sudden free. Procedures still have an endured cost, and if the applicants are not going to pay for it, someone else must foot the bill. As it turns out, it is not the Obama administration that deserves credit for this generosity towards DACA applicants. Obama simply redirected the financial burden onto another group. Thus this generosity, although forced upon them, actually comes from those seeking legal entry into the country. For legal immigrants have been subsidizing DACA applications at a rate of over $100 million a year.
“The cost of adjudicating DACA applications has been subsidized by other immigration benefits applicants to the tune of $316.5 million over the last three years,” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reports. “Most immigration benefits applicants pay for the application for the status they are seeking, with additional fees for a work permit and fingerprint collection; DACA applicants only had to pay for the work permits and fingerprints, leaving legal immigrants and visa applicants to pick up the tab for the cost of adjudicating their eligibility for DACA.”
The rigorous legal immigration process into the United States has thus become $316.5 million more expensive over the 2015-2017 period, and many of these applicants are not even accepted. Each initial DACA application costs $446 and renewals cost $216. Each DACA recipient is having hundreds of dollars in application costs subsidized by those who are seeking to abide by U.S. immigration law.
Every single one of these DACA recipients, by definition of their status, did not enter the country legally. Thus those now enrolled in DACA, who were working prior to receiving this status, was either avoiding taxes by being paid under the table or only on the books due to engaging in identity theft.
“It is estimated that at least half of the people with DACA were working illegally before obtaining their work permit,” CIS reports. “We can assume that some number of these individuals committed identity theft or fraud in order to do so.”
CIS further notes, “To add insult to injury, not only did legal immigrants subsidize DACA, they also had to wait longer for their applications to be adjudicated, as DACA applications were prioritized ahead of family and naturalization applications.”
Immigration priorities have clearly been set. DACA recipients are priority number one, and policy has been conducted specifically to make sure that these individuals are given a privileged status.