Scoop: USCIS Considers Giving Afghans Work Permits First, Vetting Later

By Robert Law on September 9, 2021

President Biden botched the Afghanistan withdrawal, costing American service members their lives, stranding Americans and lawful permanent residents in Kabul, and recklessly allowing over 50,000 unvetted and visa-less Afghans into the United States, with more on the way. The media tells you these Afghans are “refugees” or heroic interpreters eligible for Special Immigrant Visas, but that is largely untrue. The Biden administration owned up to the deception in the fiscal year 2022 continuing resolution spending plan it quietly released on Tuesday, where it advocates for treating paroled Afghan aliens as refugees. Put simply, the Biden administration wants to treat those who aren’t refugees, as defined by our immigration laws, as “refugees”.

Why would they do this? As revealed in the continuing resolution document, the explicit reason is to make all of these visa-less Afghans immediately eligible for U.S.-taxpayer-funded welfare. As phrased by the Biden administration, “Without the anomaly, paroled individuals from Afghanistan would not be eligible for resettlement assistance, entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food assistance, and other benefits.”

So these visa-less Afghans took airplane seats that could have gone to Americans, are not refugees, and are not SIV-eligible. But now that they’re physically in our country the situation is even worse.

For starters, these Afghans are unvetted, reflecting a policy decision to import them all first and figure out who they are later. But because they were allowed into the country through Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s unlawful use of categorical parole, they are all immediately eligible for a work permits (employment authorization documents, or EADs).

Confronted with these dual adjudicative burdens, multiple U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sources tell me that agency leadership (i.e., Biden political appointees) are on the verge of ordering adjudicators to issue work permits first and “resolve” vetting issues later.

If Director Ur Jaddou signs off on this policy, it is even more reckless than it appears. For starters, none of these Afghans have established addresses in the United States, so the work permits are either being handed to them upon release from the military bases they are temporarily being housed in or are being mailed to the advocacy groups who are sponsoring them. When derogatory information comes up, how helpful do you expect these groups to be in tracking down these aliens? And my sources tell me that the agency has already discovered numerous instances of national security or Department of Defense flags on these aliens, but they too will get work permits and be released from temporary custody.

This policy, if implemented, would tie the hands of adjudicators by requiring them to approve work permits with incomplete information and removing their discretionary authority to deny. Just days away from the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Biden administration is considering actions that would make the country less safe, and using career immigration adjudicators to do it.