President Barack Obama unilaterally will award work permits to more than four million foreigners, most of whom are now living illegally in the United States, according to statements by White House officials to The New York Times.
The move, which the Times spun as a way to “protect up to 5 million from deportation,” will be implemented as soon as this month, and will provide work permits to roughly four million illegals plus an unnamed number of university-trained foreigners either living legally in the United States or overseas.
Obama’s promised award of work permits likely exceeds the 4.3 million Americans who will turn 18 this year, and is also almost equal to the six million new jobs added to the nation’s economy since his inauguration in 2009.
The extra work permits will be in addition to the almost one million work permits that have been given, or promised to, younger illegals, additional guest workers and migrants by Obama since 2009.
The country also accepts roughly one million new immigrants and 650,000 non-agricultural guest workers per year.
Roughly 10 million Americans are looking for work in an economy where wages have been stagnant since 2000.
The announcement was made while the president is on a week-long trip in Asia.
GOP leaders are debating whether to stop Obama’s work-permit program, even though numerous polls show the public strongly opposes Obama’s work-permit plan by a ratio of two or three to one.
New congressional spending curbs are the only reliable way to stop Obama from distributing the work permits in 2015, say conservatives, such as Sen. Jeff Sessions and Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon. “Every one of these individuals are going to be given a photo ID, a Social Security number and the right to take a job in America — when too few jobs exist and too many Americans are looking for them,” Sessions said in a Fox News interview this week.
However, GOP leaders are reluctant to directly block Obama’s plans, partly because they fear the established media will portray them as eager to shut down the government.
Officials and the Times spun the work-permit announcement as a way to protect foreigners from angry Republicans.
“President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan,” the Times said.
But few of the nation’s roughly 12 million illegals face any risk of repatriation because Obama has already minimized enforcement of immigration law.
“If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it’s just highly unlikely to happen,” John Sandweg, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the Los Angeles Times in March.
In 2013, for example, officials repatriated less than one percent of illegals living in the country who did not violate major laws.
He has also changed enforcement practices to allow more migrants to cross the border. Since October 2013, for example, more than 130,000 Central American migrants have been allowed to settle in the United States, attend schools or compete for jobs.
The beneficiaries of Obama’s plan include foreigners who smuggled children into the country and foreigners who were smuggled as children into the country by their parents.
The plan will also reduce enforcement of immigration laws against illegals who have established themselves in the country, partly by cutting the Secure Communities program.
The program identifies and repatriates illegals who have been arrested or convicted of crimes.