US Issues 5.46 Million Work Permits according to CIS Report

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From 2009 to 2014, the US government granted 5.46 million work permits to those on non- immigrant visas or those illegally in the US according to a new report published by a conservative think-tank "The Center for Immigration Studies" (CIS). Many of these work permits were granted to people who entered on F-1 student visas and as visitors on B-1/B2 visas.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre well known for bringing legal proceedings against "hate groups" had the following to say about CIS:

…FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA are all part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the "puppeteer" of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots…

The Center for Immigration Studies, who published the report, says that the number of work permits issued "exceeds the number of new green card and temporary work visas issued in the same period."

Sanwar Ali, Editor of News had the following to say:

"Is it really that surprising that millions of people would be granted work permits? Anyone who knows anything about the US immigration system will know that Employment Authorisation is allowed under certain circumstances. Why would anyone be surprised that millions of people received work permits? The CIS report is highly misleading. This is what you would expect. CIS has an anti-immigration agenda".

Freedom of Information Request

Jessica Vaughan, the Center's director, said: "The data was acquired from US Citizenship & Immigration Services via a Freedom of Information request. It's clear that the figures undermine the US immigration system, bypassing the limits outlined by Congress, impacting opportunities for US workers and encouraging illegal immigration."

Visa holders in many different visa categories were granted work permits including in the following visa categories:

  • Temporary workers on H visas
  • Tourists on B-2 visas
  • Illegal immigrants
  • Those in special categories - Northern Marianas & Palau

Call to Investigate

US Senator for Alabama, Jefferson Sessions, who firmly opposes President Obama's immigration policies, said the matter 'needs investigating.'

In an interview with Fox News, he said: "The data outlined in this report has uncovered a shadow immigration operation, which previously remained hidden from the American citizens."

Visas Issued

According to CIS, 1.8 million new work permits were granted to foreign nationals who were previously under the Visa Waiver Program or to those holding other temporary visas.

The report had the following to say: "Of these, about 1.2 million (67 percent) had a visa status for which employment is not authorized by law. For example, more than 470,000 work visas were issued to aliens on B-2 tourist visas and 532,000 were issued to foreign students (F-1 visa). More than 156,000 were issued to dependents of students (F-2 visa) and guest workers, all in categories not authorized for employment by law."

The report states that 963,000 new work permits were granted to foreigners with a permanent status or those who have a status that will lead to a green card. Of the 963,000 work permits, 418,000 were issued to refugees, 164,000 were granted to fiancées (K-1 visa) and a further 174,000 to approved asylum seekers.

Additionally, 982,000 undocumented immigrants received work permits. This includes 957,000 people who crossed the border illegally.


Vaughan said: "These figures should be of great concern. Work visas are gateway documents to driving licences & additional benefits. 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 worrying if the government does know and chooses not to disclose it."

She added: "This issue is ultimately having a detrimental impact on job opportunities for Americans. Congress should take action to prevent another five million visas being issued by voting to withhold funds for US Citizenship & Immigration Services.