August 5, 2015
The Obama administration has issued more than 7.4 million work permits to foreign nationals from 2009 – 2014, beyond the approximately one million lawful permanent residents and 700,000 foreign guest workers admitted to the U.S. each year.
In written responses to the Senate Judiciary Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee Republicans obtained by Breitbart News, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reveal that the Obama administration has been approving work authorizations for immigrants beyond admission limits and for some categories of immigrants that Congress never intended to work in the U.S.
Green card holders and foreign nationals on guest worker visas do not need work authorizations.
Beyond those limits each year, these new and renewed work permit approvals amounted to about 1.23 million in fiscal year 2009, 1.08 million in FY 2010, 970,277 in FY 2011, 1.24 million in FY 2012, 1.68 million in FY 2013 and 1.24 million in FY 2014.
Such categories of immigrants that received permits include: Illegal immigrants granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, immigrants granted Temporary Protective Status (TPS), spouses of guest workers, various types of foreign students, immigrants granted voluntary departure, parolees, as well as asylees and refugees.
Further, more than 113,800 individuals with final orders of deportation also were granted work permits in that six year span.
A number of categories of immigrants granted work permits simply had immigration applications pending without approval. Those work permit approvals include immigrants with TPS pending, application for suspension of deportation, “in proceedings,” adjustment applicants, asylum applicants, and pending Special Agricultural Workers (SAW) applicants.
For example,from FY 2009-FY 2014 more than 356,600 applicants for asylum were granted work permits. Another 2.69 million work permit approvals were for immigrants applying for an adjustment of status.
In addition to the raw work permit data, USCIS also provided a list of every zip code in the country, revealing where these extra work permits or EADs were issued each fiscal year.
The two zip codes with the greatest number of extra EADs in FY 2014 was in Flushing, NY (11355 and 11354) with 6,529 and 4,800 EADs. The zip code with the third most EADs in FY 2014 was Brooklyn, NY (11220) with 4,106 EADs. A zip code in San Gabriel, CA (91776) boasted the fourth most EADs at 3,803. And the zip code with the fifth most EADs was a zip code in Miami (33126) at 3,220.
Readers may see how many extra work permits have been granted in their area by finding their own zip codes here.
The data comes on the heels of a Center for Immigration Studies report, authored by expert Jessica Vaughan, which also revealed 7.4 million excess work permits issued in what she described as a “parallel immigrant work authorization system outside the numerical limits and categories set by Congress.”
Vaughan’s data obtained, via a Freedom of Information Act request, yielded different categories of immigrants. USCIS explained in its response that the new data is an update to the data provided in the FIOA.
Of the updated data, Vaughan explained to Breitbart News that the numbers show the Obama administration has been “abusing what should be considered very limited authority to issue work permits.”
She noted that while work permits have been intended to be a benefit for those who are applying for legal status or as a temporary benefit, the administration has issued them to people who are not eligible for legal status.
“Work permits have always been intended as a transitional benefit to assist someone that is in the process of applying for legal status, or as a temporary benefit. The administration has used them as a way to secretly give out benefits to huge numbers of people who are not eligible for a legal status,” she wrote in an email to Breitbart News. “They are using them to bypass the law and evade the rules set by Congress that limit the number of people who can take jobs here.
Vaughan further called on Congress to take action to rein in the issuance of these work permits.
“It’s no wonder people are flocking here to claim asylum, enrolling in school, and using other tactics to get here by hook or by crook. This shadow immigration system is displacing Americans and legal workers from jobs, and Congress needs to take back control of the process without delay,” she emailed.
When Vaughan’s report broke earlier this year, the chairman of the immigration subcommittee,
called for an investigation.
“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,” he said at the time.