DHS Fast-Tracks Migrants Straight into Jobs

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
By Paul Martin

28 May 2019

The Department of Homeland Security has put hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants on a fast-track to jobs and a slow-track to deportation.

The revelation was hidden in a brief statement by acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan, who told the Senate on May 23 hearing that 100 percent of migrants carrying children are released, some without asking for asylum, and are allowed to get work permits as soon as 30 days.

The DHS is releasing the migrants on the fast-track process “because they do not have the space” to detain migrants long enough to start the deportation process, said Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge who works at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, DC-based research. Congress will not fund shelters to hold more than 2,500 migrants with children, so it is allowing the border agencies to be overwhelmed by the rush of migrants.

The slow-track deportation process allows migrants to delay filing their likely asylum request — and so it delays the eventual rejection of the asylum claim, which is needed prior to deportation. “Rather than potential starting their asylum process while in custody [at the border], they are not going to take pleadings until they are in [subsequent] removal proceedings,” said Arthur. In contrast, the regular process allows migrants to be deported in roughly 40 days if border officials can quickly record and process asylum claims, starting with a “Credible Fear” interview.

Meanwhile, the fast-track job process allows migrants to get work permits as quickly as 30 days after crossing the border.

The conventional process bars migrants who ask for asylum from applying for work permits for 150 days. The conventional process also allows government officials another 30 days to approve the request, so boosting the conventional work-permit process up to 180 days. The conventional 180-day process takes six months to get a work permit — but DHS has been giving work-permits to the migrants in just one to three months.

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