While conservative are angling to defund President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, the administration is already at work creating the new infrastructure that will implement its unilateral changes to immigration law.
Shortly after Obama announced the executive actions on immigration, Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed it would be opening “a new operational center” in Crystal City in Arlington, VA to house 1,000 new “full-time, permanent federal and contract employees.”
“The initial workload will include cases filed as a result of the executive actions on immigration announced on Nov. 20, 2014,” the USCIS bulletin issued on Dec. 1 read.
At the time, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) called the facility, “a clear symbol of the President’s defiance of the American people, their laws, and their Constitution.”
“The President cannot spend money unless the Congress approves it, and certainly the Congress should not approve funds for an illegal amnesty,” Sessions added on Dec. 3.
Providing offices and salaries for these new employees will cost an estimated $48 million, according to a Christmas Day report in The New York Times. It adds that the government will be spending almost $8 million annually in lease payments and some $40 million in annual salaries.
The Times reports that at a recent speech in Los Angeles, USCIS Director León Rodríguez said that 5,000 people have already applied for the new immigration jobs.
Administration officials argued in the report that the salaries and lease would be covered by fees acquired from processing the millions of illegal immigrants who apply for Obama’s protected status. They said the goal is to be providing papers and work authorizations to illegal immigrants within months.
Conservative Republicans pushed to block funding for the executive actions during the funding fight before the holidays. The compromise agreed to after bipartisan, bicameral leadership negotiations resulted in most of the government being funding through September of next year except for the Department of Homeland Security — which is the umbrella agency for USCIS and will be implementing the executive actions. It is only funding through February.
Republican Leadership argued that a pushing the fight over executive amnesty into the next, Republican controlled, Congress would allow for a more effective push back against Obama’s unilateral actions. Conservatives argued the funding for the executive actions should be immediately nipped in the bud.
The funding compromise, pushing the DHS fight into next year, ultimately passed before lawmakers took their holiday recess.
According to The New York Times, many of the new jobs will already be filled come the next round of fights over Obama’s executive amnesty when funding for DHS is up and the fight begins again.