The number of foreign workers getting work permits for U.S. jobs will hit 2 million this year, partly because President Donald Trump’s deputies have reduced only a few of President Barack Obama’s foreign-worker programs and policies.
Roughly 2 million foreigners will get temporary work permits, dubbed “Employment Authorization Documents,” or EADS, during 2017, despite administration efforts to cut back some of the many business-backed foreign-worker programs, according to two sets of data released by the Department of Homeland Security.
“This is almost entirely outside of our legal immigration and legal guest-worker system — these are additional workers,” said Jessica Vaughan, a policy expert at the Center for Immigration Studies. “The majority of these [EAD] work permits are given to people who originally entered the country illegally and now have some kind of exception being made for them, either on a temporary base or while they apply for some other benefit,” she added.
The new data shows that 1.6 million work-permit EADs were given out during the first nine months of the government’s 2017 accounts. That puts the number on track to break 2 million, partly because an extra rush of people applied for DACA amnesty work permits in September and early October.
Four million young Americans join the workforce each year. But their ability to get well-paid jobs is hurt by the one-for-one influx of roughly four million lower-wage foreign workers.
As the new report show, roughly 2 million foreigners will get EADs in 2017. Also, 1 million foreigners are allowed to become legal immigrants. Roughly half a million foreign “guest workers” get work-visas, such as the H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 visas, and a few hundred thousand illegal immigrants will cross the Mexican border or overstay the temporary tourist or work visas. That inflow adds up to almost 4 million, or one new migrant for every American who turns 18.
“There’s no way you can make the case that this number of work permits being issued annually does not have an affect on the labor market,” Vaughan said.
A huge population of roughly 30 million lower-wage immigrants has filled up job openings since the 1970s, leaving millions of American men unwilling or unable to work. In 1980, 94 percent of prime-age U.S.-born men were working, according to federal data. The number fell to 91 percent in 2000, down to 89 percent in 2010, and down to 88.4 percent in Spring 2017, according to federal data.