Top U.S. Citizenship Official Insists Dreamer Protest ‘Doesn’t Work on Me’

Francis Cissna says President Donald Trump will continue to seek adoption of 'rational' immigration policies based on skills that improve America

America’s top citizenship official said Wednesday he would not be intimidated by dreamer demonstrations as Congress debates immigration reform.

Francis Cissna (shown above), director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that activists protesting deportations of illegal immigrants are using the same tactics and slogans they have for years.

“There is nothing new under the sun,” he said. “Those protests have been the same for the past 12, 13 years I’ve been involved in all this. It’s the same — probably the same signs that I saw back in ’06 and ’07. Nothing’s changed there.

“That’s the playbook that they follow and, you know, literally using poster kids to advertise their claims. It doesn’t work on me. And they can do whatever they want. But we’re going to advance, at least on our side, rational immigration policies that, I mean, any normal person could totally support.”

That means, Cissna said, insisting on President Donald Trump’s reforms as part of any amnesty for dreamers — the nickname given to illegal immigrants brought to America as children, derived from the name of Obama-era Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

As the Senate continues debate over the issue this week, Trump insists on legislation that would end the diversity visa lottery, which awards green cards to applicants chosen randomly, and to curtail chain migration.

“So when that all adds up, it’s a couple hundred thousand, roughly, a year …It’s adding up geometrically over time.”

Chain migration is, perhaps, the most controversial of the president’s requests. A proposal by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) would limit family-sponsored immigration to spouses and minor children of immigrants.

Cissna said about 400,000 of the million or so green cards awarded annually go to immediate family members.

“That’s fine. But the rest of them are all coming in under all these categories for, like, adult, married children and brothers and sisters, and of course, they bring their small kids, too. They ride along as well,” he said. “So when that all adds up, it’s a couple hundred thousand, roughly, a year … It’s adding up geometrically over time.”

Related: Durbin Anecdote Aside, a ‘Strong Back’ Doesn’t Go as Far Anymore

The result is that most immigrants pick themselves with no regard to whether they have the education and skills that can help the country, Cissna said.

“That’s nuts,” he said. “There’s no selectivity in the process.”

Cissna touted another aspect of the Grassley proposal that would crack down on gangs. Under current law, legal residents cannot be kicked out of the country because of gang membership. That means U.S. officials have to wait for those gang members to commit crimes before taking action.

“That’s crazy,” he said. “It’s also not enough to keep you out of the country. You could have someone who’s a full-on member of a gang and technically on the books, there’s no ground to prevent you from being admitted.”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.