The Obama administration has issued almost 5.5 million more work permits than Congressionally set limits allow according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). The report shows that, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data obtained by a Freedom of Information request, from 2009-2014 the agency issued 5,461,568 new work permits to immigrants, beyond the 1.1 million legal immigrants and 700,000 guest workers admitted to the U.S. each year.
CIS laid out three categories of immigrants who received work authorization under what the group is calling a “shadow” system:
- Approximately 1.8 million new work permits were issued to aliens with temporary visas or who entered under the visa waiver program. Of these, about 1.2 million (67%) had a visa status for which employment is not authorized by law, such as foreign students and dependents of guest workers.
- About 982,000 new work permits were issued to illegal aliens or aliens unqualified for admission. Of these, 957,000 were aliens who crossed the border illegally (Entered Without Inspection). Inexplicably, 1,200 new work permits were issued to aliens who were denied asylum, were suspected of using fraudulent documents, were stowaways, or were refused at a port of entry.
- About 1.7 million, were issued to aliens whose status was unknown, not recorded by the adjudicator, or not disclosed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency that processes the applications.
After the report was released, CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan commented on the report's findings.
I was astonished at the huge number of work permits that are being issued by the Obama administration outside the legal immigration system through executive discretion, especially at a time of high unemployment and stagnant wages. Besides the effect on the American worker, it encourages and rewards more illegal immigration.
UPDATE: Senator Jeff Sessions released the following statement on the report and the need for the Senate to pass H.R. 240.
This Freedom of Information Act request has unearthed the operation of a shadow immigration system previously unknown to the American public. A full investigation is warranted. In addition to the widespread non-enforcement of existing immigration law—such as the public charge rule—we know now the Administration has been issuing millions of additional work permits beyond what Congress has authorized. Since 2009, the Administration has issued 5.5 million new work permits in excess of the regular immigration flow. This massive increase in the labor supply has occurred simultaneously with a steep drop in family incomes and a sharp rise in the number of Americans pushed out of the workforce. All jobs gains since the recession have gone to foreign workers, while the slack labor market has depressed median family incomes almost $5,000 in that time.
This exposé comes as Congress prepares to vote tomorrow on whether to begin debate on the House-passed bill to stop the President’s unlawful issuance of another 5 million work permits to illegal immigrants. The House bill on the floor fully funds every lawful activity of DHS; what it does not fund is outlaw behavior. Any Senator who votes to block debate is voting to deny their constituents the protections of their own laws. Blocking debate on this bill is to block your own constituents’ voice in the affairs of their government. Congress passed limitations on immigration and rules for residing in the United States, in order to protect the economic interests of all U.S. workers—both immigrant and native-born. Month after month, the Administration has systemically dismantled U.S. immigration laws without evoking a word of protest from members of the President’s party. The coming days will test whether congressional Democrats can claim to represent American workers, or whether they will complete their transformation into the party of open borders.
Read the full report
Updated: Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 1:15pm EST