A relative of three border surge migrants apprehended during this weekend’s immigration enforcement raids claims they had work permits granted through the Obama administration’s “deferred action” program.
Rene Morales — whose sister and her two children were apprehended Saturday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents — showed CBS46 what he said were “deferred action” work permits.
Morales’ sister and her children arrived in the U.S. in 2014 as part of the surge in unaccompanied minors and “family units,” largely from Central America, who have flooded illegally into the U.S. in recent years. Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), however, is technically only for illegal immigrants who have resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
CBS’s report did not delve into the origin of the work permits.
Over the weekend the Obama administration began a series of raids on illegal immigrant families who have been ordered removed but remain in the U.S. Over 120 illegal immigrants were apprehended in raids that were conducted largely in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. Morales’ sister and her two children were taken into custody in Atlanta, according to the local CBS report.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox referred questions about the Morales’ alleged work permits to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services but noted that everyone who was apprehended over the weekend had cause for removal.
“[E]veryone arrested over the past weekend had a final order of removal issued by an immigration judge,” Cox emailed Breitbart News.
A Republican Senate aide was hardly surprised that an illegal immigrant with final orders of deportation had been granted work permits.
“Keep in mind, 1 million extra [work permits] are printed each year so there are A LOT of illegal[s] with work permits,” the aide emailed Breibart News.
Indeed, the Obama administration has issued more than 7.4 million work permits to foreign nationals from 2009-2014, beyond the congressionally mandated annual limits. Included in that six-year span is more than 113,800 work permits granted to individuals with final orders of deportation.
Center for Immigration Studies policy studies director Jessica Vaughan was also unfazed by the idea that Morales’ illegal immigrant relatives may have been granted a work permit. She too pointed to the millions of work permits the Obama administration has granted beyond the limits set by Congress.
“The administration’s view is that it has the authority to issue work permits to anyone it chooses, and they do it specifically to avoid the immigration limits that Congress has enacted and that the public supports. They issue work permits because they cannot issue green cards, but a work permit is the next best thing — the alien can get a job, a Social Security card, a travel document, driver’s license, and in general live here as if they were legal,” Vaughan explained to Breitbart News.
Vaughan further dispelled the idea that Morales’s relatives were apprehended improperly, especially under the Obama administration’s enforcement environment.
“I find it hard to believe that an ICE officer would arrest somebody with [deferred action] status,” she said.
In the Morales’ family’s case, Vaughan surmised that the documents Morales presented to the CBS reporter were either fraudulent or granted as an asylum applicant.
A USCIS spokesman was unable to provide additional clarification on the documents Morales showed the CBS46 reporter.
“Based on the clip provided, it is unclear what documents were presented to the reporter. USCIS only grants immigration benefits to those who meet the guidelines for approval,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement.