Government Data Reveals Shadow Work Authorization System for Immigrants

Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration Studies, February 2, 2015

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that a shadow immigrant work authorization system, outside the limits set by Congress, has been issuing work permits at an astounding rate. Records received from USCIS through a Freedom of Information Request reveal that from 2009 to 2014, the agency issued 5,461,568 new work permits to aliens. These are issued in addition to the approximately 1.1 million new legal immigrants and the 700,000 new guest workers admitted each year.

“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,” stated Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s Director of Policy Studies.

This week the U.S. Senate is set to vote on a DHS funding bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would withhold funds for USCIS to implement President Obama’s executive amnesty plans, which include the issuance of perhaps as many as five million more work permits.

View the entire report here.

The report shows a detailed breakdown of those issued work permits during this time period. Three groups receiving employment authorization include:

  • 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 independents of guest workers.
  • About 982,000 new work permits 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.

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