By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
The Homeland Security Department said Friday that illegal immigrants will have to pay $465 to apply for legal status in the U.S. under President Obamaâ€™s administration Dream Act, with the fees going to make sure no taxpayer funds are used.
Illegal immigrants will be able to begin applying Aug. 15 under the program announced in June by President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, which will apply to illegal immigrants age 30 and under who were brought here before age 16.
In another key decision, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency will generally not use the information from the applications to try to deport illegal immigrants who donâ€™t qualify unless they lie on their application, have serious criminal records or are otherwise deemed threats to the country.
That move is likely to draw fire from critics who say the Obama administration is knowingly turning its back on illegal immigration, but an administration official, who briefed reporters on condition that he not be named, said they made that decision in order to try to convince illegal immigrants to come forward.
â€œInformation contained in the request will not be used for immigration enforcement purposes,â€ the official said.
Driving without a license would not rise to the level of a criminal offense where the information would be used, nor would having worked in the U.S. under a false identify. But gun offenses, sex offenses or drunken-driving convictions would rise to the level where the information would be shared with deportation authorities.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said the program will push illegal immigrants into the workforce, letting them legally compete with American workers at a time when the unemployment rate is still over 8 percent.
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