A $1 Billion Boost to U.S. Workers Buried in a Proposed DHS Ruling

By David North on November 18, 2020

The latest proposed fine-print rules change by DHS regarding about-to-be-deported illegal aliens will boost the economy for the rest of us by a billion dollars — but that good news is totally buried in the DHS press release and in the text of the proposed rule.

Yes, jobs paying more than a billion dollars will become available to legal workers in the U.S. as a result of the proposed rule, but one needs to be a detective who possesses remarkably good luck, a working knowledge of the Federal Register, and some math skills to notice.

Yes, the new rule is good public policy, and comes about three years later than it should have, and yes DHS rule-makers and particularly publicists have, to use the journalistic phrase, buried the lede.

The new proposed ruling — and they keep coming out, election defeat or not — deals with the legal ability to work granted years ago to a small segment of the nation's illegal aliens, the ones with a formal order of removal (i.e., deportation) who have not yet left the country. Sometimes there is a gap between the issuance of the order and its enforcement, perhaps because of a delay in securing travel documents from an alien's home country.

DHS has decided that work authorization should be granted to only a small portion of these aliens in the future; it had been, apparently, almost automatic in the past, though you have to read between the lines to learn that.

How do we know that there is a billion-dollar, favorable impact on the U.S. labor market? This involves unraveling the convoluted thinking of DHS regulation writers. When a new rule is proposed throughout the government, the regulators are supposed to figure out the economic consequences of the rule, a good thing.

So what does DHS do, deep in this document? It estimates that "Lost earnings for aliens temporarily released on order of supervision would range from $614,037,170 to $1,495,358,741 with a primary estimate of $1,054,697,955 (annualized 7%)."

This means that those jobs would go to someone else, hopefully legal residents of the U.S., but that concept is missed by DHS. I figure that a billion dollars worth of work at, say, $15 an hour, would provide something like 83,300 workers with 20 weeks of 40-hour employment, a welcome development.

The author is grateful to CIS intern Kevin Berghuis for his research assistance.