DHS Drafts Plan to Curb Work Permits for Illegal Migrants

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 03: Immigrants receive assistance with their U.S. citizenship appl
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The Department of Homeland Security is discarding a 1994 rule which says officials must provide work permits to asylum seekers within 30 days of their request.

The tighter curbs on work permits may reduce the huge flow of low wage foreign migrants into U.S. blue collar jobs. In turn, the reduced inflow will pressure employers to offer Americans higher wages as they compete for the limited pool of U.S. workers

Federal law allows illegal immigrants and economic migrants to ask for asylum — and then to ask for work permits once they have waited at least 150 days for an asylum court hearing. The minor rule is now a huge loophole because the immigration courts are so backlogged by up to 1 million asylum-seekers that new migrants know they can get work permits by simply asking for asylum at the border. So the 1994 rule allows new migrants to get renewable work permits in just 180 days — 150 days plus 30 days — after they cross the border.

This work permit loophole is an economic opportunity for employers because it provides extra foreign workers. The extra workers help to reduce employers’ “poaching” of American workers from other companies. That competition for workers could trigger a bidding war for U.S. workers in the growing economy, so cutting profits and stock prices.

“The [30-day] move would shrink a pool of workers in an already tight labor market, reduce tax revenue, and potentially encourage asylum seekers to work without authorization,” said Ali Noorani, director of the business-backed National Immigration Forum. His group works with low wage employers in agriculture and other sectors to boost the inflow of asylum workers, refugees, and H-2B visa-workers.

Noorani wrote in an article on Foxnews.com:

The rule would eliminate a requirement that USCIS process asylum seekers’ initial work permit applications within 30 days, potentially leading to lengthy delays in work authorization.

And, later this [month], the administration is due to determine the Fiscal Year 2020 refugee cap. Reports are that the cap could fall to 15,000 refugees granted admission per year. Numbers like this would decimate cities and towns throughout the Midwest

A press release from Noorani’s group said the new rule,  “could result in millions of dollars of lost wages, with a corresponding significant loss in federal and state tax revenue [and] in a very tight labor market, it would further shrink the pool of available workers.”

The NIF’s Corporate Roundtable includes Walmart, dairy firm Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., strawberry grower Driscoll’s, Marriott International, Starbucks Corporation, Target Corporation, poultry processor Tyson Foods Inc., as well as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. hire drivers to deliver food.

Amid the lobbying, President Donald Trump’s low immigration “Hire American” policy is slowly forcing up wage and benefits for Americans nationwide and is forcing employers to hire once sidelined Americans. For example, the New York Times reported September 5:

With the national unemployment rate now flirting with a 50-year low, companies are increasingly looking outside the traditional labor force for workers. They are offering flexible hours and work-from-home options to attract stay-at-home parents, full-time students and recent retirees. They are making new accommodations to open up jobs to people with disabilities. They are dropping educational requirements, waiving criminal background checks and offering training to prospective workers who lack necessary skills.

But the gains for employers can be quickly lost, economists warn.

“I think all these gains are incredibly fragile, and they need to be fostered and protected,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist for the employment site ZipRecruiter.

Even now, there is evidence that the job market has room for further improvement. Companies are raising pay, but only gradually, and the inflow of workers into the labor force has slowed in recent months.

Since 2012, more than one million migrants from Central America have used a variety of loopholes to overwhelm the asylum laws and border rules, and many are now using the rules to get legal work permits quickly. The permits are vital to migrants because they allow the migrants to get jobs and pay off their smuggling debts to the cartels. Migrants are also using the cash from their jobs to hire more cartel-affiliated coyotes to bring their spouses and children into the United States.

Without the permits, the migrants could not pay their debts to the cartels’ labor-traffickers unless they work illegally — and the illegal work would further reduce their chances of winning their asylum claim.

Nearly all of the (c)(8) work permits last for one year.

The number of asylum work-permits grew rapidly under President Barack Obama, from 55,000 in 20102, to 150,000 in 2015. 270,000 in 2016, and 277,000 for the first nine months of in 2017.

The draft DHS regulation shows the numbers of renewals:

USCIS received 41,021 initial EAD applications from individuals with pending asylum applications in FY 2013, 62,169 in FY 2014, 106,030 in FY 2015, 169,970 in FY 2016, and 261,782 in FY 2017. USCIS also received 37,861 renewal EAD applications from individuals with pending asylum applications in FY 2013, 47,103 in FY 2014, 72,559 in FY 2015, 128,610 in FY 2016, and 212,255 in FY 2017.

The regulation suggests the DHS approved 474,000 new or renewed asylum work permits in 2017. Additional migrants — perhaps 100,000 from 2015 to 2017– were released from the border via a different process, which allowed them to get work permits without waiting for 180 days.

DHS officials have minimized public access to the 2018 and 2019 numbers, which has likely driven the total number of (c)(8) asylum workers above 750,000.

That resident number of (c)(8) asylum workers is huge. It roughly equal to a 20 percent inflation in the new domestic labor supply during 2019 — so helping to prevent a bidding-war for American employees.

The new rule will allow officials to delay awarding work permits — and the huge number of annual renewals — until security reviews are completed, according to the draft regulation released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

This change is intended to ensure USCIS has sufficient time to receive, screen, and process applications for an initial grant of employment authorization based on a pending asylum application. This change will also reduce opportunities for fraud and protect the security-related processes undertaken for each EAD application.

The level of fraud sophistication and the threat immigration-related national security concerns posed today are more complex than they were 20 years ago. Furthermore, changes in intake and document production to reduce fraud and address threats to national security, as well as necessary vetting to address such concerns, are not reflected in the current regulatory timeframe.

Pro-migration groups are strongly opposed to the curbs, and will likely sue to preserve the supply of cheap foreign labor which suppresses the wages of blue-collar Americans.

“USCIS seeks to essentially eliminate work authorization for asylum applicants by removing deadline for how fast they need to adjudicate the application,” said a tweet from Greg Siskind, an immigration lawyer. “They call it efficiency. Any person who has an ounce of humanity calls it malevolent.”


Immigration Numbers:

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university. This total includes about 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software, or statistics.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of about 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately 1 million H-1B workers and spouses — and about 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints out more than 1 million work permits for foreigners, it tolerates about 8 million illegal workers, and it does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it transfers wages to investors and ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment,  increases state and local tax burdens, reduces marriage rates, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.

The cheap-labor economic strategy also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, undermines suburbiashrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.



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