Congress’ border loopholes for asylum seekers have delivered more than 400,000 additional migrants into Americans’ workplaces, reducing free-market pressure on employers and investors to raise wages for blue-collar Americans.
The 400,000-strong population of asylum seekers “is a huge thing — it is almost half of our legal immigration flow per year,” said Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA.
“It is more than the number of agricultural guest-workers [H-2as] that we hand out [each year], plus the number of H-2Bs [visa workers], plus the annual number of H-1Bs [visa workers],” she said.
The asylum seekers “are competing for construction jobs and service-industry jobs against the poorest Americans — including the recent legal immigrants — and of course the employers gain,” she said.
The 400,000 number was provided by an official to Breitbart News, and it is equal to one-tenth of the 4 million young Americans who join the workforce each year.
All told, the resident population of illegals, guest-workers, visa workers and asylum-seekers adds at least 11 million workers to a national labor force of roughly 161.5 million. That is almost 7 percent of the workforce, and the resulting wage-competition transfers a huge amount of wealth each year from white-collar and blue-collar employees to the nation’s employers, investors and urban professionals.
In fiscal 2017, which started October 2016, officials at the Department of Homeland Security approved 403,000 work permits for migrants based on pending asylum claims. This (c)(8) process allows officials to give “Employment Authorization Documents” to migrants 150 days after they file for asylum. During fiscal 2017, officials declined to give EADs to an additional 76,000 applicants.
The EADs work permits stretch for two years. Additional two-year permits are being awarded in Fiscal 2018, starting October 2017.
The total number of asylum-seekers with EADs is likely around “half a million,” said Jenks.
The number of (c)(8) EAD recipients spiked because President Barack Obama’s border policies invited a wave of Central American migrants to apply for asylum in the hope of getting “permisos” to live and work in the United States. In turn, the inflow overwhelmed the immigration courts and detention centers, prompting a policy of “catch and release.”
DHS officials say that roughly 80 percent of asylum-seekers pass Congress’ initial, low-bar “credible fear” test which is administered at the border. Those asylum-seekers are allowed to file for asylum in courts. But the court hearings for people are backed up for at least two years, so allowing the migrants to file for the (c)(8) work permits.
Officials are unable to keep asylum seekers at the border while their asylum claims are considered by judges because the 1997 Flores court settlement requires officials to release migrant families after 20 days of detention.
Also, Congress has not provided enough judges or detention space to process the large volume of asylum claims within the Flores 20-day deadline. This lack of funding forces agency officials to release hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers and illegal migrants into the United States.
Only 20 percent of asylum seekers eventually win their asylum cases in court.
President Donald Trump, aided by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, is trying to reduce the cross-border flow by processing asylum requests within the Flores 20-day deadline. Sessions and Nielsen are also working to reverse the pro-migration skew in policies set by Obama’s deputies.
However, Jenks warned that Obama’s wave will make the task for Trump and Sessions very difficult.
For example, the 400,000-plus migrants with EADs are also given Social Security Numbers and drivers’ licenses, she said. Once their claims for asylum are rejected, they will lose the EADs and melt into the nation’s population of 11 million illegals — and will have the valid documents needed to get and keep jobs, she said.
The SSNs are permanent, and few states ask drivers to prove their eligibility when they are renewing their drivers’ licenses, she said. The combination of both documents is enough to pass an I-9 enforcement check unless the federal agencies cancel the SSNs and enforcement agency also checks for invalid SSNs.
“If they are not deported, their lives will not change … nothing happens because they have a drivers’ license and an SSN,” Jenks said, adding that federal agencies already face the huge and difficult task of finding 1 million illegals who have been ordered out of the United States by judges.
Many of the migrants with EADs are unskilled and likely hold minimum wage jobs, Jenks said. That poverty also means they are getting aid from the local, state and federal governments, she said. Their children are placed into Americans’ schools; the families get limited medical care, plus state assistance, plus federal tax-related subsidies, including the child credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Most of the asylum-seeking migrants hold jobs in major towns and cities, ensuring lower wages in Democratic cities, she said.
Also, Democratic and GOP leaders have repeatedly rejected Trump’s four-part immigration reforms in 2018. Those reforms would push up wages and salaries by trimming immigration numbers and by closing many of the border loopholes which have raised the labor supply in the United States. In fact, many Democratic politicians are trying to widen the loopholes and to import more cheap labor amid the dramatic rise in wealth inequality in California and nationwide.
Around the nation, Republicans and Democrats have worked hard to protect their districts’ supply of cheap labor, often by trying to exclude federal enforcement agencies. In April 2018, for example, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) warned local illegal aliens — and many local food-industry businesses — that ICE was planning to arrest many criminal illegal aliens. Officials later said Schaaf’s warning helped block the repatriation of many criminal illegal aliens with sex crime convictions, drunk driving convictions, and armed robbery convictions.
Business executives complain bitterly when they are forced to compete for workers by offering higher wages. The Washington Post reported the complaints of restaurateur Steve Carb who was forced to raise wages to fill just 900 of the 1,000 open jobs at his 12 restaurants in Hilton Head:
Dishwashers earn $13 an hour instead of the $10 they earned a couple of years ago. Line cooks are paid $15 to $18 an hour, instead of $13 to $15. Additional overtime costs mean tweaking the menu to stay profitable, from switching to smaller shrimp to raising the price of a plate of fish and chips by 30 cents.
“The whole island is a disaster zone right now,” said Carb, president and founder of SERG Restaurant Group. “It’s been a nightmare.”
Republicans from agricultural districts are also working with the establishment media and Democrats to raise the inflow of migrants to the food industry, such as dairy farms. Also, donors are threatening to go on strike if the GOP does not force Trump to raise the labor supply.
Overall, wages rose just 2 percent in 2017 after discounting inflation, amid good economic growth, according to a May 23 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The migrants also nudge up demand for good and services, such as the apartments, foods, autos sold by members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The extra migrants also provide much work to immigration lawyers and related support organizations.
The 400,000 number of asylum-seekers does not include migrants who have sneaked across the border or the roughly 300,000 illegal migrants who have been released into the United States pending deportation hearings. It does not include the 1 million illegals who remain in the United Stae after getting a judge’s deportation order.
The 400,000 number does not include the population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa-workers — such as H-1Bs, L-1s, and OPTs — nor the population of at least 400,000 manual workers using H-2A, J-1 or H-2B visas. The 400,000 number is also different from the roughly 8 million illegals who hold jobs throughout the United States.
Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.
The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people, it floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.
But Trump’s effort to limit legal and illegal immigration is driving up wages and salaries for Americans in various locations and careers around the country. The beneficiaries include African-American bakers in Chicago, Latino restaurant workers in Monterey, Calif., disabled people in Missouri, high schoolers, resort workers in Hilton Head, construction workers, Superbowl workers, the garment industry, and workers at small businesses, and even Warren Buffett’s railroad workers.