Extending Work Permits for Migrants Isn’t the Solution; It’s the Problem
By extending the terms of employment authorization documents (EADs) for illegal aliens, the Biden administration is putting migrants first, while hurting American workers and taxpayers alike. Even as foreign-born labor is at record highs, inadmissible migrants can now work for longer periods than any congressionally authorized guest worker visa.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says that increasing the EAD validity period from two years to five years – 10 years with renewal – will significantly reduce processing times and backlogs. But at what price comes this “efficiency”?
“USCIS is already in a dire financial crisis exacerbated by the Biden administration’s failure to implement an updated fee schedule, its creation of numerous unauthorized parole programs and massive expansion of Temporary Protected Status (both of which provide eligibility for work authorization),” the Center for Immigration Studies found. “This is sure to be another paper cut undermining the agency’s overall financial health in addition to attracting more migrants.”
Though the share of foreign-born workers in the U.S. is already at an all-time high, the administration is pumping even more bodies into the labor pool. Interestingly, 3.4 percent of foreign-born workers were unemployed last year, compared with 3.7 percent of native workers.
Immigrant workers come with significantly less education. Among last year’s crop, 18.3 percent of hadn’t earned a high school diploma, versus 3.4 percent for U.S.-born employees. The education gap widens considerably among the formerly inadmissible aliens entering the U.S.: 46 percent of Central American migrants have less than a high school diploma.
Due to their low education levels, migrants are heavily concentrated in lower-wage, lower-skill jobs. But even in the two-dozen occupations where illegal aliens comprise 15 percent or more of the workforce, 5.7 million U.S.-born workers are employed … for now.
As bottom-feeding employers profit from an artificially inflated labor market, government programs tap tax dollars to fund special programs for a swelling migrant underclass. Last week, New Jersey announced it earmarked $2.5 million to get jobs for migrants.
This is just a snowflake on an iceberg, of course. FAIR estimates that illegal aliens cost U.S. taxpayers $163 billion a year, noting these costs will grow as “migrants become more settled and increase their use of services like public education and health. Moreover, parolees are immediately eligible for a range of welfare benefits.” As word gets back home about expedited EADs, this surely will encourage more migrants to come.
Under the onslaught, blue state leaders are revising their “welcoming” spiel. “We have been caring for the people who’ve arrived. But we can’t bear the burden only ourselves,” Illinois’ Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said recently. In a letter to President Joe Biden, he complained, “Unfortunately, the welcome and aid Illinois has been providing to these asylum-seekers has not been matched with support by the federal government.”
The EAD rubber-stampers at USCIS could make the same case. Issuing and extending work permits to millions of illegal aliens isn’t the solution; it’s a growing part of the problem.