Obama Administration Just Gave Away a Million More ‘Green Cards’

AP/Ross D. Franklin

With the ink hardly dry on Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen’s order slamming the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for trying to grant up to 11.7 million illegal aliens/undocumented workers “green cards,” President Obama just instructed Homeland Security to offer “green cards” to H1-B holder spouses and children under 21 years old.

The Administration estimated only 180,000 spouses “can gain work authorization.” But with at least 789,000 H1-Bs currently outstanding, over one million spouses and children just became eligible for green cards.

Gallup Polling estimated that 150 million adults and their families wanted to migrate to the U.S. in 2012. But Congress sets limits on the number legally allowed to enter the US. In the latest data, 990,553 foreign nationals became lawful permanent residents (LPR), also known as or “green card holders.” New arrivals in 2013 comprised approximately 459,751, or 46 percent, of those granted green-cards and about 530,802, or 54 percent, were “status adjusters”—persons already living in the U.S. that were refugees, asylums, temporary workers, foreign students and family members of U.S. citizens.

The process of receiving a U.S. visa and green card can be very difficult and take up to decades. For someone from India that has a bachelor’s degree and a U.S. employer’s sponsorship, he or she is likely to have to wait 11 years or more for a US visa and “green card.” For a resident of the Philippines who is seeking to join a sibling who is living in the U.S. as a naturalized citizen, the wait can be as long as 24 years.

But under the Immigration and Nationality Act, to fill “limited supply specialty occupations” such as science, technology, engineering, math, medicine, law, theology, arts and business specialties, the Department holds an annual H1-B Visa Lottery:

  • The lottery was expanded from 65,000 in 2012 to 140,000 employer sponsored workers in 2015. In addition,  there are now no green-card limits for individuals with extraordinary abilities, especially research fellows, executives and athletes.
  • The Obama Administration also passed legislation that offers H1-B startup visas to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to start companies in the U.S., and 250,000 merit-based visas to immigrate to the U.S.

The Obama administration estimated that its February 25, 2014 immigration reform would offer green cards to 180,000 spouses of H1-B holders. But with over 100,000 H1-B issued each year for up to nine years, there are at least 789,000 H1-B holders living in the US. Therefore, a more reasonable estimate would be that about 600,000 spouses and 400,000 children between the ages of 14 to 20 are now eligible for a green card.

Judge Hanen’s decision against temporary amnesty is a far-reaching rebuke of the Obama administration’s effort to conduct immigration reform by “executive order.” The court found Texas and 25 other states had “standing” to sue the federal government because the “new executive order was inconsistent with the laws on the books, and that the President lacks the power to change the law unilaterally.”

Thus despite being slam-dunked by a federal judge for trying to give green cards to 11.7 million illegal aliens/ undocumented workers, President Obama has found another avenue to give away a million green cards.


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