Around 5.5 million work permits beyond those authorized by Congress have been issued by the Obama administration over the last six years to people who are not US citizens, new documents have revealed. US policy critics claim the documents show the existence of a shadow immigration system that is stealing jobs from Americans and causing wages to be lowered.
The Center for Immigration Studies, which leans towards the conservative side of politics, obtained the information via a Freedom of Information request, resulting in demands for a full investigation from Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions. “This request has unearthed the operation of a shadow immigration system previously unknown to the American public,” Sessions, who is one of the fiercest opponents of immigration reform, declared. “A full investigation is warranted.”
The 5.5 million work permits issued by the administration were in addition to the 3.5 million guest worker permits and five million green cards authorized by Congress between 2009 and 2014, according to a Senate staffer. The author of the study and director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, Jessica Vaughan, says that the Obama administration has worked out how to issue such permits away from Congress.
The largest group to benefit is those who arrived in the United States without inspection, with over 957,200 such individuals given permanent or pre-permanent work permits, the Center claims. Vaughan says that while some of these individuals were already likely to obtain green cards, the great majority came to the US illegally or on tourist/visa waiver programs.