‘Shadow Work-Permit System’: Anti-Amnesty Group Reveals More Details

AP Photo Ross D. Franklin

The anti-amnesty Center for Immigration Studies is offering more details on what it calls a “shadow work-permit system,” in which the Obama administration has issued millions of work permits beyond the levels mandated by Congress.

CIS — which recently revised its initial estimate of the unauthorized issuance of additional new work permits up— reports that between 2009 and 2014, the Obama administration issued 7.4 million new work permits, above the annual 1.1 million new legal and 700,000 guest workers admitted to the U.S.

“The huge number of work permits being issued above and beyond [congressionally mandated] limits inevitably reduces opportunities for U.S. workers, damages the integrity of the immigration system, and encourages illegal immigration,” Jessica Vaughan, CIS’ director of policy studies, writes in her report.

Monday CIS revealed more details on the “shadow” system, specifically that from 2009 to 2014, of the 7.4 million permits, 4.7 million were new issuances and 2.7 million were renewals, and that the fastest growing category of issuances were those to illegal aliens, tourists, students and family members of temporary workers. The level doubled over the six year period.

Further, CIS says that the largest categories of work permit issuances had an approval rate of 90 percent or greater — for example, according to CIS, the the approval rate for illegal border crossers was 90 percent, tourists as 93 percent, and unknown/unreported was 94 percent.

Additionally, 96 percent of those who applied as students were able to receive a work permit, as were 91 percent of those applying as dependents of H-1B guest workers, which CIS says are not authorized to work.

“These statistics confirm the concerns raised recently in federal court, that the Obama administration is flagrantly abusing its ability to grant work permits in order to get around the limits on legal admissions that are set by Congress to protect job opportunities for Americans,” Vaughan said Monday. “This is happening on a massive scale that goes way beyond deferred action and authorized humanitarian programs.”

She further pressed Congress not to wait for the courts to take action but instead to “take steps now to rein in President Obama’s executive overreach and restore the integrity of our immigration system.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) called for an investigation into the “shadow” system.

“A full investigation is warranted. In addition to the widespread non-enforcement of existing immigration law—such as the public charge rule—we know now the Administration has been issuing millions of additional work permits beyond what Congress has authorized,” he said.