Democrat Mayors Ask Biden to Give Work Permits to Millions of Illegal Immigrants

Democrat Mayors Ask Biden to Give Work Permits to Millions of Illegal Immigrants

Illegal immigrants wait to be processed by Border Patrol agents after crossing from Mexico, with the U.S.–Mexico border barrier in the background, in Yuma, Ariz., on May 23, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Naveen Athrappully

Naveen Athrappully


Updated: 5/27/2024


Forty-one Democrat mayors and county officials wrote a letter to President Joe Biden asking his administration to grant parole and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants residing in the United States.
“Our request is rooted in the belief that extending the dignity of legal authorization to work for our residents born in Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and other countries would be a positive step forward,” the Democrats wrote in the May 23 letter.
They noted that roughly 11.3 million American citizens today share a home with an undocumented individual. As such, this issue is critical in certain “key electoral states” such as Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina, they wrote.
The Democrats asked the Department of Homeland Security to “leverage its authority” to grant parole for both long-term and recent illegal immigrants, thus qualifying them for work authorization. Allowing illegal immigrants to legally work in the country would result in higher wages, shield them from workplace exploitation, and enable them to contribute to the economy, they wrote.
The letter claimed that legal work done by illegal aliens would bring in an estimated $13.8 billion annually in tax contributions. Citing a Congressional Budget Office prediction, Democrats said that “new arriving immigrants” could boost the U.S. gross domestic product by $7 trillion over the next 10 years, without specifying whether they were legal or not.

Fiscal Impact

Claims that illegal immigrants boost the U.S. economy have been countered by several studies. A March 2023 analysis by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found that the United States bears a fiscal burden of $150.7 billion annually because of illegal immigration.
“Tax payments by illegal aliens cover only around a sixth of the costs they create at all levels in this country,” the analysis reads. “Many illegal aliens actually receive a net cash profit through refundable tax credit programs.”
Numerous illegal immigrants work in the underground economy and thus avoid paying income taxes at all, FAIR noted.
Although the total revenue paid by illegal aliens was just below $32 billion, their gross negative economic impact was roughly six times that at $182 billion. Each illegal alien or U.S.-born child of an illegal alien costs Americans $8,776 annually.
In their letter, the Democrats suggested that the Biden administration could kick-start the parole and work permit authorization for illegal immigrants by expanding the parole currently granted to spouses and parents of U.S. military servicemembers. The expansion can provide parole to 1.2 million undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens in the country, they wrote.
The administration can focus on a work permit program for undocumented illegal immigrants who have been living in the United States for 10 or more years, according to the letter. They also suggested instituting a parole program for “Dreamers” who are too young for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“It is time to extend work permits to bring millions out of the shadows. On behalf of our new residents and long-term immigrants, we urge you to use this authority to everyone’s shared benefit,” the letter reads.

Massive Illegal Immigrant Influx

The Democrat push for granting work permits to illegal immigrants comes as there has been a massive influx of such individuals under the Biden administration.
According to data from Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol officials encountered nearly 9.9 million illegal immigrants from fiscal year 2021 until April 2024. That includes 1.98 million encounters during this fiscal year alone so far.
In April, the administration extended work permits for certain illegal aliens. The extension was done weeks before a deadline that would have left hundreds of thousands of such people without jobs.
Republicans blame President Biden’s policies for triggering the influx of large numbers of illegal immigrants.
In January 2021, the first month in office, President Joe Biden stopped the border wall construction, halted the Remain in Mexico program, repurposed ICE priorities, and reversed the ban on travel from terror-prone countries.
However, the administration insists that it is working toward controlling the border crisis. President Biden has “called on Congress to fix our broken immigration system” from the first day in his office, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a May 20 statement.
“Earlier this year, his Administration reached a bipartisan agreement on the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades,” she said.
“This bipartisan border legislation would deliver the significant policy changes, resources, and personnel needed to secure our border and make our country safer.”
Republicans blocked the bill a few months ago, with many calling the provisions insufficient to secure the border. GOP lawmakers pointed out that the bill does not include restoring former President Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which many Republicans consider a must-have in any border security legislation.
The bipartisan border bill was proposed once more in the Senate on May 23. This time, the bill was rejected 50–43, with more opposition from lawmakers of both parties.
The Border Act of 2024 includes a provision that allows for shutting down the border if the average number of illegal immigrants encountered by officials comes to more than 5,000 per day for seven consecutive days.
However, opponents point out that allowing 5,000 illegal aliens into the United States every day would make the immigrant crisis facing the country even worse.
After the bill was rejected by the Senate, President Biden blamed Republicans for not caring about “securing the border or fixing America’s broken immigration system.” He accused GOP lawmakers of putting partisan politics above national security.
Although the initial vote in February was backed by a few Republicans, no lawmaker from the party supported the measure this time around. Many GOP members said the bill was a Democrat political ploy that would end up worsening the border situation.
“The fact of the matter is that President Trump had the authority to secure the border,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told The Epoch Times. “He did. Biden used that exact same authority to open it back up.”
Naveen Athrappully

Naveen Athrappully


Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.

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