Biden Administration Expedites Work Authorization for Illegal Aliens
As the border crisis intensified over the summer, resulting in newly-arriving illegal aliens overwhelming many cities and states – particularly in Democratic strongholds – local officials intensified their demands that the Biden administration find a way to grant work authorization to migrants more quickly. That demand was echoed by 103 House Democrats in a letter to President Biden in early September.
By statute, asylum-seekers are required to wait 180 days before they can receive work authorization. The intent of that law was to discourage economic migrants, seeking jobs, from entering bogus asylum claims if they knew they would have to wait six months before they could work legally in the United States. The overwhelming majority of asylum-seekers are economic migrants who are abusing our asylum policies.
It didn’t take long for the Biden administration to yield to the pressure and find a convenient way to circumvent the waiting period for work authorizations. To do so, they resorted to taking advantage of another much-abused policy: Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In September, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas extended and “re-designated” the country of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The announcement will make approximately 472,000 Venezuelans eligible for TPS benefits, including protection from deportation and work permits. The “re-designation” is clearly intended to cover the flood of new Venezuelan migrants who arrived in recent months. It comes on top of an existing TPS authorization which was renewed in September 2022 and runs through March 2024, for Venezuelans who were in the U.S. at that time. Thus, the administration “re-designated” Venezuela for TPS. And, each time a country is designated, the nationals of that country physically present and living in the U.S. are shielded, often automatically, from deportation. This means that the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who illegally entered the U.S. after the first declaration of TPS – a stunning 472,000 – will now also be shielded from deportation and receive work permits.
The notion of “re-designating” a country for TPS has no basis in law. The notion that the government could, without statutory authority, “re-designate” a country by simply using the original emergency – for the purpose of giving work authorization and protection from deportation to people who were not in the U.S. at the time of the first designation – is outrageous – but is par for the course for the Biden administration.
Almost certainly, Venezuela will not be the only country receiving TPS designation (or re-designation) as means to make an end run around the work authorization waiting period for employment authorization. The Venezuelan re-designation was followed almost immediately by an extension and re-designation for Afghanistan. Other nationality groups are already clamoring for similar consideration from the administration.
Rather than quelling the crisis that threatens to destroy places like New York City, hastening the issuance of work authorization and further abusing TPS will only add to the incentive for economic migrants to arrive in the U.S. and enter fraudulent asylum claims.