U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agents are often kept in the dark about decisions by the agency’s top brass, but the president of its employee union says the writing on the wall: Obama is headed toward issuing a major executive amnesty.
“Absolutely this is what they must be doing,” Kenneth Palinkas president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, said in an interview with Breitbart News Thursday when asked if a recent USCIS solicitation seeking material for millions of new immigrant documents indicates that the Obama administration is laying the groundwork to move forward with plans to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
“Absolutely, no doubt,” added Palinkas, who has been outspoken in his opposition to the Senate immigration bill and amnesty.
This week Breitbart News reported U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued a solicitation for contractors that can supply the materials necessary for a “surge” of millions of Permanent Residency Cards (PRC) and Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”
A number of lawmakers have said that such a solicitation could foreshadow Obama’s executive amnesty, and while the White House has attempted to laugh off such implications. Palinkas told Breitbart that he has seen additional cues that also might point in that direction.
The council president explained that his union is in the middle of contract negotiations and recalled the annual meeting he had this week with Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox, National ICE Council President Chris Crane and other labor heads.
Palinkas said he left the meeting with the impression that they are trying to rush the contract negotiation process along.
“They are looking to set timelines for us to get things done now. That to me is a major signal they want to push everything forward because they are getting ready for immigration reform,” he said, arguing that timelines are hard to impose on contract negotiations.
“To me it is nonsense, but it’s this constant drive to get to where they want to get to with immigration reform at any cost. Even at the cost of the employees that will get tasked with this workload. We’re second in the equation. What’s primary is the customer,” Palinkas said, in this case the “customer” is immigrants seeking USCIS services.
Another indication Palinkas said he sees as a possible indicator for the upcoming executive actions is the fact that after more than 15 years, the government is willing to discuss telecommuting and alternate work schedules with his union — something Palinkas said could highlight the department’s need for more adjudicators to process a high volume of immigration applications in the face of a lack of facility space.
“The whole push there is obviously they are gearing up for immigration reform because for years we’ve tried to get the agency to the table to negotiate telework policies and negotiate AWS policies and they’ve refused,” he said explaining the agency recently sent out a notice saying it is interested in bargaining over telecommuting.
“They never did this before. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. And they do not have enough space as it is in the facilities that they have. So to add more workers on, they’re going to have to give telework, that’s what their rational is,” Palinkas speculated, adding that while he is not a proponent for amnesty he does support telework for USCIS employees.
Palinkas noted that in none of his meetings with USCIS and DHS officials have they explicitly discussed President Obama’s expected executive actions.