New documents reveal that the Obama administration has issued roughly 5.5 million work permits to non-citizens without Congressional authorization.
The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative-leaning Center for Immigration Studies demonstrate what critics call a “shadow” or “parallel” immigration system that infringes on employment opportunities for Americans, Fox News reported Saturday.
The new information has prompted Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions to call for an investigation.
“This request has unearthed the operation of a shadow immigration system previously unknown to the American public,” Mr. Sessions said. “A full investigation is warranted.”
The 5.5 million work permits issued by administrative action are an addition to the 5 million green cards and 3.5 million guest worker permits authorized by Congress during the 2009-2014 period, Fox reported.
The center claims more than 957,200 people who entered the U.S. without being inspected were given permanent or “pre-permanent” work permits.
In addition, 23,215 parolees, nearly 1,000 stowaways and 49 people suspected of document fraud were also given permits, according to the study.
“Some of those people are on track to get a green card,” Jessica Vaugh, the study author and the center’s director of policy studies told Fox. “But the vast majority of them entered illegally or on a tourist visa or the visa waiver program. …It’s not like there’s a labor shortage here.”
Vaughn also broke down the numbers to show the three biggest groups ineligible for work permits but receiving them are illegal immigrants (928,000), people of “unknown” immigration status (1.7 million), and those on a temporary visa (1.8 million), according to Fox.
“There’s no reason to issue (work permits) to people here illegally or whose status is unknown,” Vaughn also said, Fox reported.
The statuses of 1.7 million of those people have not been disclosed by the Citizenship and Immigration Services, which Ms. Vaughn said should be a concern because work permits are “gateway documents” to driver’s licenses and other benefits.
“And if the government agency issuing them does not know or will not disclose how the bearer arrived in the country how can others rely on the authenticity of an individual’s identity? It is equally disconcerting if the government does know and chooses not to disclose it,” Vaughn said, Fox reported.