House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) says the Obama administration is trying to create a backdoor way for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship status, despite President Barack Obama's promise that this would not happen.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Goodlatte said this path to citizenship was explained on a Thursday conference call that officials used to explain how they will implement Obama's executive action on immigration.
"Your department's recent changes to this deferred action program seem to be a sneaky attempt to place potentially hundreds of thousands of unlawful immigrants on a path to citizenship," he wrote.
Back in November, Obama said he would expand his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, to allow more illegal immigrants get deferred deportation status if they came to the country at a young age. He said at the time this would not create a path to citizenship.
But Goodlatte said DHS officials explained things differently on the Thursday call. According to Goodlatte, officials said people applying under the DACA program could also apply for "advance parole" at the same time. That status allows people to leave the country and then become eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status once they return to the United States.
Goodlatte said letting DACA applicants apply for this status is essentially putting them one step away from U.S. citizenship.
"Such a process encourages advance parole applications and thus encourages DACA to be used as a path to U.S. citizenship," he wrote.
"When the president of the United States tells the American people that DACA is 'not a path to citizenship,' no agency should take action in direct conflict with that statement," he added. "To do so is misleading the American people."
His letter asked officials to stop accepting applications for advance parole from DACA recipients, and to figure out how many DACA recipients are seeking permanent resident status.
Goodlatte's letter was highlighted by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who said the finding is another example of how the Obama administration is trying to obliterate U.S. immigration rules.
"Every day seemingly brings a new revelation about the president's executive amnesty," he said. "We've learned that illegal immigrants will be given billions in free cash tax credits. We've learned that illegal immigrants will be given trillions in lifetime federal entitlement benefits through Social Security and Medicare."
"We've learned that illegal immigrants will be given driver's licenses, creating new avenues for voter fraud," he added. "We've learned that the president's edict will allow companies to replace American workers with illegal workers instead."
Read Goodlatte's letter here: