As the federal government today launches a new program that will allow many young undocumented immigrants to stay temporarily in the U.S., officials warn that applications will be closely scrutinized for fraud and that anyone caught lying could face criminal charges and swift deportation, says the Arizona Republic. Today is the first day that as many 1.76 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors can begin submitting requests for a two-year reprieve from deportation. The policy, known as “deferred action,” allows them to receive temporary work permits.
Immigration analysts say fraud is a major concern because some undocumented immigrants may be tempted to submit fraudulent documents out of desperation if they don’t meet the age and other requirements for the program. A 1986 amnesty law that allowed nearly 3 million illegal immigrants to get green cards was rife with fraud. Widespread fraud in the deferred-action program could hurt Obama politically leading up to the November election. President Obama has characterized the deferred-action plan as a stopgap after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, a bill that has languished in Congress for years and would allow undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship by attending college or serving in the military.