During a campaign rally on August 31, 2016, Donald Trump promised to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants.” Unfortunately, almost three years later, not only is the DACA amnesty alive and well, an entirely new amnesty for hundreds of thousands of bogus asylees, which is fueling the core magnet of today’s border invasion, is growing like wildfire. The million-dollar question is why is the administration continuing to give hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants work permits?
A quick glance at USCIS data on the number of work permits issued by this administration for various categories of migrants shows that nearly 750,000 employment authorization documents have been issued to “asylum applicants” for FY 2017 and FY 2018.
While Trump wasn’t president for the first few months of FY 2017, the number of work permits issued for “c8” status, which means those who are enjoying catch and release pending their asylum claims, topped 403,000. In FY 2018, that number was 345,048, which is still well above the levels during Obama’s second term when he began offering this amnesty program in large numbers and applying it to people who didn’t deserve it.
Once again, our laws on immigration aren’t broken, the problem is what the executive and judicial branches have done with them. Asylum was clearly intended for isolated individuals with particularized persecution. Obviously, for those people, it made sense to offer a path to a work authorization while they are in the country pending their asylum claim in immigration court. But even for legitimate claims, this was a discretionary program, as indicated in the above USCIS chart.
As it states in 8 U.S.C. §1158(d)(2), “An applicant for asylum is not entitled to employment authorization, but such authorization may be provided under regulation by the Attorney Genera,” after 180 days. The administration is under no obligation to issue such permits, even when there are prima facie legitimate claims. How much more so when this is one mass fraud with almost none of them being legitimate asylees and coming in through mass caravans. Why in the world would the administration continue this policy and even grow it as the flow expands?
The tragic irony is that the work permits are precisely the reason why most of these migrants are coming. Think about how our laws have been bastardized. There is a discretionary option to offer work permits to those who come for legitimate persecution, yet this administration is treating the work permits as mandatory for those who are scamming our asylum system … precisely so they can obtain work!
John Daniel Davidson, an immigration expert who writes for the Federalist, testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee that most of the family units indeed are not even coming as family units. “A majority of the ‘family units’ are men traveling with one or more children,” testified Davidson, indicating that this is the same old story of men coming to seek work. Except, they are coming with a child in order to obtain catch and release. According to Davidson, “Many of them also have jobs already lined up,” and although nearly all of them are claiming asylum, “many of them will admit that they don’t plan to remain in the U.S. permanently, and in fact have a set amount of time they plan to live and work here before returning home.”
Thus, the ability to obtain catch and release and then work in America is the whole enchilada when it comes to magnets bringing in this latest mass influx of Central Americans. Not only does the law not require this, the administration is electing to continue an Obama policy that serves as the main enticement for the border migration that these very laws were constructed to prevent.
In order to get a better sense of the latest trends, I asked USCIS if they have FY 2019 data on work permits, but they told me that data is not yet publicly available. However, given that the media is reporting that USCIS is floating an idea to expand the waiting time for work permits from 6 months to 12 months, it appears that the administration has continued this practice until this very day. Why not simply end the practice of granting these discretionary work permits rather than debating the waiting time for them? Given that we know almost all of them are bogus asylees and are harming legitimate asylees through the constant clogging of our system, we are doing nobody any favors by continuing this magnet.
Think about the following absurdity: The total number of legal work visas permitted by law is no more than 291,000, with 140,000 permanent employment-based visas and 151,000 Non-immigrant (temporary) visas annually. Yet, more work permits were authorized for people invading our country with openly bogus claims than all the legal worker programs combined!
This administration has already renewed over 373,000 DACA amnesty work permits since last January and roughly 300,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) amnesty work permits for mainly illegal aliens from nationals of Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Keep in mind, in all three cases, the laws were written for the expressed purpose of protecting Americans from such immigration fraud. Obama breached the laws, the courts mandated them, and now this administration has, thus far, continued them with interest.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.