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DHS plans move to shield some undocumented migrants from deportation

The changes create some perverse incentives, such as elevating some illegal immigrants to a more favorable work status than legal guest workers, such as holders of the highly skilled H-1B visa.

Published: August 12, 2023 5:16pm

The Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has drafted a proposal to allow some unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. to hold jobs for up to five years, which is more than twice the current time allowed.

The change, if adopted, would apply to people who crossed the border and then filed asylum claims to try to stop their deportation, and to people seeking to win legal permanent residency, also known as a green card, according to documents seen by The Washington Times.

Currently the maximum time for a work permit, officially known as an Employment Authorization Document, is two years. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said extending it to five years would be more efficient for everyone involved.

“In the interest of reducing the burden on both the agency and the public, USCIS is revising its guidance to increase the maximum EAD validity periods for these categories,” the agency noted in a policy alert being circulated with proposed changes to USCIS’s policy manual.

Robert Law, the policy chief at the agency under President Trump, said the changes create some perverse incentives, such as elevating some illegal immigrants to a more favorable work status than legal guest workers, such as holders of the highly skilled H-1B visa. Work permits are an integral part of the immigration controversy since most illegal immigrants come in search of jobs, according to the outlet.

“The Biden administration is punting problems down the road by covertly extending the validity of discretionary work permits,” said Mr. Law, who is currently the director of the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration at the America First Policy Institute. He argues that this is a political move that could become a way to shield people from deportation.

“This blatantly political move is designed to protect illegal aliens from removal when the next America First president enters the White House in 2025.”

The draft document reviewed by The Washington Times is undated and doesn’t indicate when a decision could be made on issuing the plan.

Emilio Gonzalez, who ran USCIS for the Bush administration, believes this is the latest in a series of Biden administration plans to accommodate illegal immigrants.

“All these guys want to do is get them in the country, and when they get them in the country, they will bend every rule and policy to keep them here,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “I believe this to be a deliberate policy.”

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