More Permits to Foreigners Crowd U.S. Workers

Some 2 million work permits to immigrants on tentative legal status are distorting, even swamping, the U.S. labor market.

The federal government’s issuance of Employment Authorization Documents this fiscal year is on pace to surpass the numbers approved during the previous five years of the Obama administration.

EADs are work permits the Department of Homeland Security grants to asylum seekers, refugees, certain foreign students and DACA recipients who are in the country under something other than the traditional employment-based visa system.

EAD holders are additional workers almost entirely outside of legal immigration channels and the legal guest-worker system. The majority go to people who entered the country illegally.

The rising number of EADs flies in the face of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order.

On Jan. 23, Trump directed then-DHS Secretary John Kelly (now White House chief of staff) to review all regulations that allow foreign nationals to work in the United States and to determine which of those regulations are not in the national interest. The president’s order – whose 90-day deadline for review has long passed — stated, “Regulations not in the national interest should be rescinded.”

While 4 million young Americans join the workforce annually, labor participation rates among U.S.-born workers continue to slide as the use of EADs increases.

In 1980, 94 percent of native-born men were working, according to Federal Reserve Bank data. The number fell to 91 percent in 2000, down to 89 percent in 2010, and down to 88.4 percent in the spring of this year.

In 2016, foreign-born workers comprised 16.9 percent of the U.S. labor force, up from 13.3 percent in 2000. Their unemployment rate was 4.3 percent versus 5 percent for native-born workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Median weekly earnings of foreign-born full-time workers were $715 compared with $860 for their native-born counterparts, BLS reported.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar
    Not Politically Correct on

    Glad Flake is not running again and wish McCain would retire as well. Both are an embarrassment to Arizona.

  2. avatar

    Aww. Jeff Flake of Arizona is not going to run for Senate reelection in 2018. He announced it with a blast at Trump and Flake says he has “to answer to his grandchildren”. Then why would he not continue his effort against Trump in the Senate, because his primary opponent is Kelli Ward, a confirmed Trump supporter. The reality is he’s running behind her in polls. Maybe just maybe the voters of Arizona have caught on the phoniness of McCain and Flake on the issue of amnesty and border enforcement. McCain gets a primary opponent every 6 years, goes hard right on enforcement in the primary, and then skips down amnesty lane hand in hand with Chuck Schumer when he gets reelected. Bob Corker is also not running as a Republican from Tennessee and accuses Trump of trying to start WW3. Never mind that 25 years of “dialogue” with North Korea has let them develop nuclear weapons capable of hitting us.

    • avatar

      Great news! I am glad to hear that pro open borders, pro illegal alien amnesty Senator Flake won’t be running for reelection! Nothing more than a crooked puppet for the US Chamber of Commerce, the crooked Flake will I am sure continue to stab the American people in the back for his remaining time in office, and promote amnesty and oppose the building of Trump’s border wall which will protect the lives of the American people. Good riddance Senator Flake!

        • avatar

          dear peter, by your previous comments it seems that your grasp of the english language is lacking. the correct term for an vacancy in the united states senate is seat. I know that were it not for open borders you would still be struggling in whatever satanic nation you originated from. Only in this country could you have a chance of improving your lot in life. There is a chance that you could actually have been born in this country but i highly doubt it. My own wish is that if you not a person born in this country that somehow, someway, you can be sent back to your native land as soon as possible.

          • avatar

            Likewise, it appears you never finished high school and forgot to write:

            – Capital D for dear at the beginning of the sentence
            – Other commas, etc

            Dear Troll,

            My money is green unlike yours, and I do not come from an ignorant background/family or no education.

            You are lucky you live in the country of my ancestors and mine where you owe to improve.

            It is ok you are an ignorant immigrant of this land.

            Please educate yourself and get off your horse… even though, you are old n uneducated…..

            Perhaps I meant to write seat instead of “sit”….but by now it is clear your brains are located in your rear bumper and as an illegal you have a chance to improve yourself.