Jeh Johnson: DHS Has Money to Save His Job, but not to Protect American Workers

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

July 24, 2015

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a House Judiciary Committee that his department doesn’t have “enough tools” to proactively pursue employers who abuse the H-1B visa. A bipartisan congressional group asked DHS to probe the questionable practice of displacing Americans, and forcing them to train their overseas replacements. Even though H-1B abuse has been commonplace since 1990 when Congress authorized the visa, the Southern California Edison Company recently made national headlines for their hiring practices, with Disney following soon thereafter.

Charges loom over top immigration officials.

Interestingly, however, when the time comes to save his own hide from contempt of court charges, Johnson has plenty of tools – manpower and money – at the ready. Starting on July 15, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began going door-to-door to collect the three-year deferred action work permits issued after the Department of Justice told district court Judge Andrew Hanen it would not grant pursuant to his February 16 injunction on President Obama’s executive action. USCIS is the division of DHS that provides benefits to lawful immigrants.

In his written memorandum dated July 7, Judge Hanen wrote: “The government has conceded that it has directly violated this court’s order in its May 7, 2015 advisory, yet, as of today, two months have passed since the advisory and it has not remediated its own violative behavior. That is unacceptable and, as far as the government’s attorneys are concerned, completely unprofessional.”

Many recipients had not responded to USCIS’s written requests that they return their documents. Unless the illegal aliens surrender their work permits before the end of July, they will be canceled.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Judge Hanen gave Johnson and other high ranking officials a July 31 deadline to resolve the problem. Otherwise, Judge Hanen threatened to use “all available powers to compel compliance” which some analysts interpret to mean holding four top immigration officials – Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello and Customs and Border Patrol Director Gil Kerlikowske – as well as Johnson, in contempt of court when they appear before him at an August 19 hearing.

Imagine the expense of sending agents across the country to bang on doors in an effort to get delinquent aliens to comply with repeated requests to surrender their permits. When American jobs need to be protected, the budget is dry. But to save immigration officials, suddenly money is no problem to keep them from possibly being removed from court in handcuffs.
 

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